“Realistic Expectations” applies to anything: In music, will I ever be a famous singer or concert pianist? In athletics, will I/you ever be on a Wheaties box? In academics, not many get their doctorate . . . Now this short essay is about being a realist. And as a realist, should we expect greatness & action in our lives & Christian faith, or mediocrity? A lot of folks believe that unreal expectations in any endeavor leads to disappointment & feelings of inadequacy.
Taking a brief look at scripture reveals a totally different spiritual world & human interaction with it. Old Testament prophets & MAJOR miracles, then Jesus Christ in the New Testament & the Apostles and more major miracles leading to Christ’s resurrection. But what about TODAY? What is reality in the Christian faith or value system?
I believe there is a range of Divine Manifestation to us – maybe 0 – 10. Some folks expect 0 from life & God, so they get 0. But given the NATURE of God & faith, we should go for the jackpot of “10”. Expect “10”, accept “5”, and don’t lose faith or hope if “0” seems like the answer. I think God is the boss – His answer is either yes, no, or wait. And if we get the “0” too often we might need to ask if Christ’s salvation is actually in place, - or- is there a sin blocker? “We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if any one is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.” John 9:31 (See also link 121 "Bad Luck Pills")
From my 42 years experience with Christ’s salvation, “Realistic Expectations” is expecting God to act. He just does. Perfection (or “10” all the time), no. Faith & believing, yes. And faith, believing, trusting, WAITING on God is the stuff that honors God. He is looking for it in us. In that “faith climate”, it is realistic to EXPECT things from God. Luke 18:7-8 "will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day & night? . . . I tell you, he will vindicate them speedily." My faith experiment from the start nearly always promoted more manifestation than I really bargained for. Mark 11:23 – 24 puts expectation in a nutshell; “Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will.” Jesus said that for us to ponder, & I'm sure "mountain" is a figure of speech for major obstacle or problem.
Now I have seen believers in Christ fail the faith & get mad at God when He doesn’t live up to their expectations. See “Reasoning With God” link 68. Some situations are tougher than nails & sometimes prayer doesn’t seem to soften or change things. But we should let God be sovereign, & assign the fault with us not Him. The truth is: I don’t have to understand all the whys. The missionary who got me started on the Christian Way said “If you don’t understand a certain (doctrine or experience), don’t worry just go on.” And I have learned that life is made of mountain tops & Valleys – we won’t always be in a valley. (Psalm 23 suggests this.) And then when riding a bicycle, the road is usually not all uphill.
My conclusion is this: As a realist, I have found God to be faithful to His word. Therefore as Paul says, “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:6 & 13 We can still apply these spiritual laws and EXPECT Divine answers. I don’t limit God – I’m His kid, and He likes me. See “My Miracles” link 33. Choose Jesus, He is alive.
For other Gospel-notes go to: www.gospelnotes.net * * F. J. Stone * *