Last week we looked at the life of David, the young teenage boy who expected to win the fight between himself and Goliath and we learnt how great expectations of God brings out the best in us.
So how do you get that attitude of expectancy like David? How do you have that faith so that God says, "According to your faith it will be done unto you."
Here are five suggestions:
First, start your day with faith, not doubt. Psalm 5.3 says, "Morning by morning O Lord, You hear my voice. Morning by morning I lay my requests before you and I wait in expectation."
David said, “every morning I get up and I meet with God, and I lay my requests before Him and I wait in expectation.”
How many of you naturally wake up happy in the morning?
Or you naturally wake up a little grumpy in the morning?
How many naturally wake up mad in the morning?
How do you respond?
God says, start your day with faith, not doubt. Start it with great expectations. "This is going to be a great day! This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad."
So if you want to develop a more positive personality, start the day with God. Start with good news not with bad news. Start with the positive. Say, "I’m going to make it a good day!" It's a choice.
Second, look for something good in everyone and everything. Romans 8:28 says: "And we know all things work together for good for those who love God, for those who are the called according to His purpose."
All things don't work together for good for everybody. All things do work together for good, for those who love God and who are trying to live in His purpose. God specialises in taking the bad and bringing good out of it.
You look for something good in everything and everyone. Emphasising the positive raises your expectation level.
Am I asking you to not be realistic and to ignore your problems? No. You can be realistic and optimistic at the same time.
You don't pretend like nothing is wrong, or like everything is perfect. You don't ignore your problems. Realise that they can be solved with God's help and you expect Him to help.
David is an example of this. He writes in Psalms, “... I start my morning with God and I expect from Him great things.” And in Psalm 18 is the attitude it produces when you have that kind of optimistic spirit. He says: “With God's help I can handle any problem.”
In verse 28 it says, "You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning, And my God You turn darkness into light." You turn problems into possibilities, you turn obstacles into opportunities, you turn darkness into light.
In verse 29: "With your help I can advance against a troop. With my God I can scale a wall." This literally means, "I can run through a barricade."
That is super-confidence. That's expecting the best. That's saying, "Sure there are problems.
But I can handle them with God's help. David recognised that Goliath was a legitimate problem. He did not deny it. But he defied it in the name of God and he says, "I come to you in the strength of the Lord!" Look for something good in everything and everyone. Our attitude should be positive, no matter what happens.
Third: Watch your words. Ephesians 4:29 says, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building up others, according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen."
He says: “Don't let any negative language come out of your mouth, only that which builds up and encourages and lifts up and meets the needs of others.” Words are powerful and they have tremendous influence. If you are ever going to learn to live by faith, the way God wants you to learn to live by faith, you've got to learn to watch the way you talk.
Three statements, three phrases, you should try to eliminate from your vocabulary as much as possible. First, "What if...” is a statement of doubt, not a statement of faith. This is saying, if you don’t commit yourself 100 per cent to something, it probably won’t work out. Eliminate that phrase as much as possible.
Second, "I can't". To say "I can't" is a contradiction of Philippians 4:13 which says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
Third, "Yes, but..." What people are saying is "I don't really want to change. I don't really want to grow... I really don't want any help." Eliminate those phrases in your life.
Fourth point is associate with positive people and avoid complainers. First Corinthians 15:33 says, "Bad company corrupts good character."
Over and over again in scriptures we're taught to watch our relationships and friendships because they have such a profound influence on our lives.
People around us who are constantly negative, constantly putting us down, being critical, nagging, complaining, always looking at the wrong things, asking, “What's wrong?”
The Bible says to stay away from them.
Hanging out with negative people will bug you, and it is irritating. The book of 1Timothy 6.4-5 talks about people who have an unhealthy interest in controversy and criticism and they're argumentative. The Bible says they lack understanding and are to be avoided.
You cannot be critical and creative at the same time. It is impossible. The critics are people who talk down about things while the creative people are the ones accomplishing it. Remember Joshua when he led the children of Israel into the Promised Land, they were confronted by the walled city of Jericho.
God said, "You're going to walk around the city for seven days and on the seventh day, they're going to fall flat." The interesting thing about that project is during that seven days, God would not allow them to talk to each other. Why? Because God knew it would only take one or two complainers who would be walking around and saying, "This is silly! This does not make sense! I feel like a fool." Soon somebody else would say, "You're right! This is kind of foolish." Then all of a sudden they'd say, "Let's start a committee on the foolishness of this project." God said, "I don't want anybody talking to anybody." They might have given up on day six, right before the walls fell. God cut criticism at the root.
Have you ever thought where negative thoughts come from? Negativism come from fear. Alluding to the old-style photo developing process, somebody once said: "Fear is the darkroom where negatives develop." So ask God to help you with your fear.
Fifth, when you pray, thank God in advance. In the Gospel of Mark 11, there is a dynamic principle here that says we must expect an answer, and if we don't expect it, then we might as well not pray.
We must believe in advance. There is the principle that is taught in this verse and in other verses throughout scripture that “you must believe and then you will receive”. You must believe in advance. You say, "You mean I've got to believe that it's already here before I get it?" Yes. If you believe after you've got it, is that faith? No, that's gratitude.
In Mark 11:22, Jesus says: "Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, `Go, throw yourself into the sea' and does not doubt in his heart but believes what he says will happen, then it will be done for him.
Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer believe that you have received it (notice: past tense) and it will be yours."
Faith is believing a thing is so, even though it isn't so, so that it might be so!
Faith is thanking God in advance. John 11:41 is the example of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Jesus does not make any type of request to God. He simply says, "Father, I thank You that You've already heard me." That's faith!
In the next verse He says, And I'm just saying this for the people around Me. That's faith! That's expecting the best. Thanking God in advance.
Praying in faith is thanking God in advance. That's the highest form of prayer. Thank God that He will provide the financing you need. Thank God He will heal and restore you relationship. Thank God in advance.
Let me say this to you, the power of expectation can change your life. We don't always get what we deserve in life, but in the long run we get what we expect.
Have a great weekend and expect the best by trusting your life to God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Pastor Tevai Matapo,
Assembly of God