You get what you expect. Our expectations, whether good or bad, will to a large extent determine what our lives will be like. So maybe it’s time to give some serious thought to the question: “What do you expect?”
It happened one day in a certain school district that three teachers were chosen and they got called in. The following was said to them: “You are the best we have and we want to appoint 90 of the most gifted children to you. We want to see how much you can teach them in one year.”
By the end of that year those 90 children out-performed the rest of the children in the same school district by between 20% to 25%.
The principle phoned these teachers and told them that he needs to confess something. “I have to confess”, he said, “you actually didn’t have the 90 most gifted children over the past year – they were just 90 randomly picked children.”
The teachers were even more impressed with their own accomplishment.
But then came the next announcement from the principle….”There is something else I need to confess as well: You aren’t the best teachers we have. Your names were the first three to be drawn from a hat.”
You Get What You Expect.
The point of this experiment was to prove that you get what you expect. Your expectations, whether it’s good or bad, will to a large extent determine what your life will be like.
Have you ever paid any attention to your expectations? What do you expect? What do you expect from life? What is your expectation of the future? What do you expect of God?
What Were You Created For?
It is crucial to understand how man has been created and for what purpose.
Genesis 1 and 2 give account of the creation.
In Genesis 1:28 God blessed man and gave him instructions to ‘multiply, replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the fowl of the air…..’ etc. That means that man was to bring the earth under control and have the authority to rule over everything on the earth.
How should man do this? The answer can be found in Genesis 1:26 (KJV); “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion…..” Man has been created in the image, and after the likeness of God. Man was created to be ambassadors of God on earth and have dominion (rule) in the way that God would.
When Adam and Eve sinned, they gave this authority over to the devil and the curse entered the earth.
Man gave away his authority. Although man was not supposed to do so, he had the authority to do so. It was man’s decision.
God is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:7-9). That also means that God will never go back on His Word. Even though it was God who gave the authority to man, as the authority has been given to man, God will not interfere or just overrule man’s authority and decisions, which is why Jesus had to make the ultimate sacrifice. If God just intervened, it would have made the authority given to man of no meaning or value.
But Now That Jesus Has Paid The Price, What Responsibility Do We Have?
Yes, Jesus has paid the price. He has made the ultimate sacrifice, and due to that we have been saved by grace.
It is true; we cannot be saved by our works. But along with our salvation comes responsibility. All authority has been given to Jesus, thus all authority has been given to us in Jesus’ Name (Matthew 28:17-19).
So, what do you expect? According to you, what will God do and what not? What can God do and what can He not do?
God normally meets us on our level of expectation, which is why we need to grow and become stronger in our faith, because it is impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6).
If we were to pray about any situation and then sit back and wait for some miracle to happen, we firstly will never grow in faith, would we? There would be no need for strong faith. God is not a genie, with us snapping our fingers to get our will done here on earth. God is God; and we are here to do His will on earth.
Secondly, God is omnipotent and He knows everything. He knows your thoughts. Even before you say something, God already knows what you are about to say (Psalm 139). But if God still needs to do everything without us lifting a finger here on earth, what purpose do we have?
Thirdly, we have been given authority in the Name of Jesus. Yes, we need to pray about the situation. And we need to pray according to God’s will. That doesn’t mean we are to pray and then wait to see whether it is God’s will to answer our prayer. God’s will is made known to us in His Word – the Bible. We need to pray His Word, then speak His Word into the situation and then stand in faith, knowing that the prayer has been answered.
“Yes, but what if I’ve prayed and it is a week later and still nothing has changed?” you ask. Then you keep standing in faith (Ephesians 6:13-15). Joshua and Caleb received the promise to enter the Promised Land. Yet, they had to wait another forty years before it came to pass.
Does that mean I say you have to wait forty years before your prayer gets answered? No, I say you need to stand as long as it takes. It is not for me or anybody else to tell you how long it will take. God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:7-9). But what I can tell you is that His timing is perfect – every time. If you prayed according to His Word, your prayer has been heard and will be answered. But leave the timing to God and stand in faith.
Standing in faith, doesn’t mean you should be passive either. In the physical you need to do what God gives you to do. You cannot pray for a hunger person and then turn around and walk away without feeding him.
Pray for that person, then pray with that person and do something about his hunger and about his problem. But everybody has a responsibility. It doesn’t end with a hunger person being fed. The saying goes ‘Give a man a fish and you’ll have to feed him again tomorrow. But teach a man to fish and he’ll never go hungry again.’
As mentioned, we are here to do God’s will on earth. That often leaves people with the idea that we are not allowed to pray for our own needs, unless we are standing with our backs against the wall and we don’t know which way to go.
People start thinking that if we pray for an increase at work, or a new vehicle, we become materialistic.
I totally disagree. That is what causes our expectations to become negative. We cannot see ourselves having anything nice, because then we think we are being materialistic or greedy. So we start expecting the worst and we settle for second best.
There is nothing wrong with having money. If your dream car is a BMW, there is nothing wrong with owning one. It is about your priorities. A scripture that is often miss-quoted is 1 Timothy 6:10. This scripture is often quoted as saying that ‘money is the root of all evil’. That is not what the Bible says. It says “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
It is the love of money that is the root of all evil. Jesus does warn us against greed in Luke 12:13-21 though. In verses 22 -33 He explains what our attitude should be like.
Then in Luke 19:11-26 Jesus tells the parable of the man of noble birth who gave money to ten servants and instructed them to put the money to work. It is clear from this parable that the noble man expected them to make a profit and the servants who made good profit were greatly rewarded for doing so.
I heard a preacher giving an example of when you live in your dream home, and God wants you to sow the house into someone else’s life, you should be obedient and do it right away, without blinking an eye. He said that as God has blessed you with the house in the first place; He is more than able to supply in your need and bless you with the means to obtain a new house.
He said that as soon as you cannot let go of the house, you do not own the house, the house ‘owns’ you.
There is much truth in that statement, but is also easy to say this ahead of time. When you get put to the test in reality it obviously becomes a whole new story as we can see in Matthew 19:16-28. But I do think that this is a good way to think about it to test where your priorities are.
In all of this I believe the most important fact is to remember that we can do nothing in our own power, but as Jesus said in Matthew 19:26 “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Philippians 4:19 says “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Luke 6:37-38 says 37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
So what are your priorities? Do you just want to hoard up for yourself? Or are you willing to give? Are you willing to feed the poor and help those in need? Are you willing to take care of the orphans and the widows?
Once you know Who your source is and your priorities are in place, there is no need to always settle for second best and expect the worst. There is more than enough for everybody, including you.
So, with that being said, what do you expect?