When we talk about expectations, we are thinking in the area of faith. Hebrews 11.1 tells us that “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Faith is not just a mere desire for something, it is not pretending that you are in a situation other than what you are in, and it’s not a feeling about something. Faith is an attitude of confidence. It is positive expectations.
The reality is, most people set themselves up for failure. You give them a project to do and they say, “I don’t think I can do it” and then they fail and they say, “I knew I couldn’t do it!” They have a self-fulfilling prophecy, that sets themselves up not to accomplish what they could in the first place. We become victims of our own expectations.
Well, God has established the law of expectation. In the New Testament book of Galatians 6:7, it says, “... for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
This law says, we tend to get what we expect out of life. We see what we expect to see, and for the most part, we act what we expect to act. We achieve what we expect to achieve. Our expectations influence all of our lives. It influences our happiness, our health, our marriage, our careers, our relationships, our abilities.
This is what God is talking about in the Book of Matthew 9:29 where Jesus touched the eyes of two blind men and says, “According to your faith it will be done unto you.”
You get to choose how much God blesses you and how much you experience in life. You get to choose what limits you set on yourself. Understanding and practicing God’s law of expectation is so crucial for you as an individual.
There are two basic philosophies of life. You can live by fear or you can live by faith. You can live by optimism. You can live by pessimism. Job in the Bible was a pessimist and he set himself up. He said, “That which I have feared in my life has come upon me.”
The problem with Job is that, he focused on what he didn’t want, instead of what he wanted. Some of you are doing that. You focus on what you don’t want -- “I don’t want to get sick... I don’t want to lose out.” You’re focusing on what you don’t want, instead of what you do want. The Apostle Paul wrote: “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” He said, I am confident that what I expect will happen! The key question is, what are you expecting from life? Expectant mothers expect babies. But everybody is expecting. You’re expecting something this week either good or bad.
The Bible in I Samuel 17 tells a story that shows an example of positive expectation. This is the familiar story about David and Goliath. It’ll give us some practical steps on how to develop and increase that power of expectation in your life.
Goliath was a giant, almost three metres tall and wore a hundred or more kilograms of body armour. He had paralysed the Israeli army with fear. Every day he would walk out on the battlefield and say, “Send out your best man and I’ll fight him and whoever wins, wins the battle.”
Everybody was frightened to death, and the Bible says in verse 11, “On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and were terrified.”
Along comes this little teenage shepherd-boy named David. He says, “I’m not afraid. God’s helped me fight lions and bears.” He is super confident. He has a great level of expectation. Verse 32 reads, “David said to Saul, `Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine.
Your servant will go and fight.” He says, I’ll do it. I’ve got a slingshot and I’ll take this guy out. Verse 37: “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of the Philistine.”
David expected the best. While everybody else was saying, “That guy’s too big! We’ll never be able to kill him.” David said, “He’s so big, I can’t miss him!”
The difference is perspective. This story shows us three things that expecting does in our lives.
First, expecting the best honours God. That’s the first reason you ought to increase your level of expectation. It honours God. In verse 46 David says to Goliath. “This day the Lord will hand you over to me and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head and today... The whole world will know that there’s a God in Israel and those who gather here will know that it’s not by sword or spear that the Lord saves, but the battle is the Lord’s and He will give all of you into our hands.” What a testimony of faith! A teenager says this to this giant before it’s happened. He expected the best. It honours God. Let me just pause for a moment to say, it is my prayer that this message will challenge our young people to see this story as a model of what God expects of you – a champion for Jesus Christ that expects the best.
Nothing pleases God more than your great expectations. It pleases God when you expect a lot from Him. When you say, “My God can do anything!” that is pleasing and honouring to God. The Bible says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”
2. Expecting the best increases ability. Every athlete knows that attitude is the winning edge. Athletes who expect to win, do far better on a performance level than athletes who expect to lose. When we act in faith, we receive additional strength.
There is supernatural power made available. In verse 48 of our reading it says, “As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly to the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone he slung it in his slingshot and struck the Philistine on the forehead.”
David’s ability was tremendous. He had the expectation – ‘I expect this guy to be killed.’
He was setting himself up and his faith in God said, “God will provide.” Someone might suggest that he may have lacked faith because he took five stones with him.
Later on in the Book of I Samuel it tells us that Goliath had four brothers. I think David is super confident: “I’m not just going to knock one sucker off, I’m going to get the whole family. One stone for each brother.” Expecting the best increases your ability.
What does this teach us? Don’t ever use a lack of ability as an excuse. “I can’t do it. I’m too old/young. I don’t have the ability/education.”
God can compensate for that if you have the level of expectation. Never let an impossible situation intimidate you. Let it motivate you. Today’s impossibilities are tomorrow’s miracles. Remember the word impossible is not in God’s vocabulary. God increases our ability when we expect Him to work in our lives.
Satan’s favourite phrase is “You can’t do it.” He wants to put doubts in your mind. But faith works in the realm of the impossible. David didn’t make any excuses. He expected God to work. Think about it this way, where man’s abilities end, God’s abilities take over. Expecting the best honours God. Expecting the best increases ability and ...
Third, expecting the best encourages other people. Optimism and enthusiasm and faith are contagious. They are catchy. Verse 51: “David ran and he stood over Goliath after he had killed him. He took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it from the scabbard and after he had killed him he cut his head off with the sword.
When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran.” Look at the attitude change in the Israeli army.
“Then the men of Israel and Judah surged forward with a shout and pursued the Philistines to the entrance of Gath and to the gates of Ekron.” Everybody wanted to get on the winning team. All of a sudden everybody got their confidence back, they were motivated, inspired. They take after the enemy.
You see, expecting the best encourages others and builds enthusiasm and confidence in the life of other people.
Some of you say, “I wish I had that kind of faith. But I’m a born pessimist, naturally negative. I have an inclination to see the problems in something. I have a natural tendency to look on the darker side.” Well, it will help you to know that it is possible for you to develop a positive personality?
If you’re a naturally negative person, you have to work harder at building your faith and increasing your optimism and your enthusiasm.
We’ll talk about that next week but in the meantime, be encouraged to think positively and try and see the glass of water half full instead of half empty.
Expect the best for your life and for your family. Great expectation honours God, it increases your ability and energy, and it encourages others.
Enjoy your weekend, drive safely and find the time to go to church.
Pastor Tevai Matapo,
Assembly of God