EXPECTATIONS PART TWO
Written by: Brian Hess
If you read the previous blog post by my wife, Katie, then you’re already aware that expectations and the power of right believing are important to us and to the way we live our lives. If you’re reading this and you haven’t read that blog post yet (Expectations - Part 1), then I’m going to stop you right here, and invite you to go and read hers first before continuing.
What I’m continually amazed by is the degree to which my life has changed simply by choosing to partner my beliefs and my thinking with the Kingdom of Heaven. When I first took an interest into studying and researching what the Bible has to say about the power of our belief/ faith/ expectations, I found myself suddenly so aware that many of my beliefs were partnering with the wrong kingdom, and it was producing some really undesirable experiences for me.
Here is the first story in the Bible that caught my attention…
Matthew 21:18-22 — “In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he became hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And he said to it, ‘May no fruit ever come from you again!’ And the fig tree withered at once. When the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, ‘How did the fig tree wither at once?’ And Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.’”
The first point I want to make is that in the Kingdom of Heaven, believing precedes receiving. Notice how Jesus says that “You will receive, if you have faith.” I don’t know about you, but the question that this causes me to ask myself is, “What things am I receiving in life simply because I’ve believed it?” I can’t help but wonder if there are things in my life that I am currently experiencing (good or bad) simply as a result of the beliefs that I am choosing to partner with.
The second story in the Bible that caught my attention is this…
Matthew 9:27-30 — “And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, ‘Have mercy on us, Son of David.’ When he entered the house, the blind men came to him, and Jesus said to them, ‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?’ They said to him, ‘Yes, Lord.’ Then he touched their eyes, saying, ‘According to your faith be it done to you.’ And their eyes were opened…”
The second point I want to make is really just a rewording of my first point, but it’s that our expectations produce experiences. “According to your faith be it done to you” is such a powerful statement. The men in this story received their healing as a result of their belief that Jesus would heal them. It wasn’t their experience that produced their faith, it was their faith that produced their experience. What they received was a result of what they believed and what they expected.
Let’s look at a few practical examples of how this has played out in mine and Katie’s lives. I know Katie mentioned our marriage and our baby girl in the previous blog post, but I am going to go a little further into detail.
Our marriage - Our premarital counseling consisted mostly of preparing us for how difficult marriage is going to be. It was way more focused on the potential for things to go wrong than it was for the potential for things to be amazing and wonderful. Thankfully, we are powerful people with the ability to choose what we are going to believe. Before we were married we were absolutely convinced that marriage could be amazing, that it could be wonderful, that it could be a joy filled adventure. And guess what? Our expectations for having an amazing marriage has produced our experience of having an amazing marriage. I’m not saying it’s perfect, because we’re not perfect people, I’m not saying there hasn’t been any mistakes. What I am saying is that right now we have the marriage we believed we could have.
Our daughter - From day one of discovering that Katie was pregnant with Norah, we chose to believe a few specific things about her. And spoiler alert - all those beliefs and expectations have become our actual experience. We believed that she would grow and develop in the womb exactly the way God designed her to. We believed that she would be healthy. We believed that she would be a happy and joyful baby. We believed that she would be a good sleeper. We believed that she would be a good eater. No exaggeration - God has either met or exceeded what we asked for in every one of those areas.
The third and final point I want to make is this - fear and faith are both believing in something that hasn’t happened yet. They both tend to be future-focused. The good news is that God’s desire is to completely eradicate fear in our lives (1 John 4:18). Not only that, but we’ve all been given a measure of faith (Romans 12:3). I believe that, as Christians, we can confidently expect good things from God regarding our future. I don’t believe that partnering with fear has to be our norm.
Consider the current circumstances you’re facing in life. Are your expectations partnering with fear that things will go wrong, or faith that God is who He says He is and that His thoughts and plans for you are good? Maybe you need a job? Maybe you’re battling sickness and need a healing? Maybe you’re about to get married or have a baby? Do you find yourself bracing for tomorrow with doubts and fears or joyfully expecting that it will be a good day?
My hope is that this blog post will inspire you to take a step back and consider what you’re expecting in your near and distant future. If you find yourself partnering more with fear than with faith, spend some time with the Father asking Him to help you replace your beliefs that are rooted in fear with beliefs that are rooted in faith. The Holy Spirit is brilliant at leading us into all truth, it’s actually one of His primary objectives (John 16:13). Let Him speak truth into your life today regarding your expectations.
Like what you’ve read, or looking for more information, posts or connection? Give Brian a follow on instagram at @hestipher