High Expectations!

by Lester Young

“I sure hope that happens.” “I really wish we could get out of debt.” Two thoughts that most of us have heard pass through our brain at some point in time. But I want to tell you something about those two: both of them are absolutely useless! Now I’m not saying it’s bad to want to be out of debt or to long for some good thing to come to pass. What I’m actually referring to as being useless here are the verbs in those two sentences, ‘hope’ and ‘wish’. And since verbs identify action, if they’re inherently powerless then the entire thoughts collapse into powerlessness right along with them.

You see, in our English vernacular, those two words are typically interchangeable. We use them when we speak of something we’d like to see or experience, but are doubtful of it ever really happening. At best, its occurrence may be a fifty-fifty proposition. “I want it to happen. It might happen – then again, it might not.” In other words, “Who knows?” We want it, we’d like to have it… but it’s not something we’d bet the farm on. There’s no faith in those words, no power – nothing to anchor your mind to that it will ever be as you desire. That’s how we view ‘hope’: not much more than ‘wishing’ in a fairy tale.

But, that’s not what true ‘hope’ is. The word appears numerous times throughout the Bible. Do you think God sits around wishing for things but is powerless to actually do anything about them? Of course not! How about Jesus? Not likely there, either. No, when they use ‘Hope’ – when that word is unleashed in the Scriptures – it’s a power that’s going someplace to do something. There isn’t any ‘wishing’ about it and there isn’t any ‘doubt’ to it. That’s because hope – real Bible, or spiritual, Hope – means to expect. It’s a confident anticipation. No questions about it: not ‘maybe,’ but certainly! Along with Faith and Love, Hope is actually one of the three most powerful spiritual forces in existence (1 Corinthians 13:13). It provides the direction for Faith to proceed in. Without true expectation, your faith doesn’t really know what you want it to do, and so it can do nothing.

How do you come to that place of “confident expectation”? The Lord Jesus gave us the key in John 8:29: “…I do always those things that please Him [the Father].” 1 John 3:22 expounds a little more: “And whatsoever we ask [God for], we receive [from] Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.” So it’s obedience, both to His written word and to His voice (Deuteronomy 28:1). When you stay in a place of obedience to the Father through the leading of the Holy Spirit (which is actually Jesus’ definition of ‘loving’ Him [John 14:21]), you’ll find that it’s much easier to latch onto a promise of God and keep it until it comes to pass. When you keep yourself humbled to God’s will, you won’t really have to try to drum up that kind of expectation. It’ll just be there, because you know you’re pleasing Him – and you know He loves you (John 17:23). You won’t have to settle for just ‘wishing’: you’ll find yourself fully persuaded that what God has promised He’s not only able to perform on your behalf, He’s also willing to do it (Romans 4:21; Hebrews 11:11). And when you’ve graduated to that level, there’s nothing left but the shouting.

Now if anybody comes along and says to you, “Don’t get your hopes up too high,” you tell them to… well, never mind what to tell them for right now. Just don’t listen to them.

 

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4 Comments to “High Expectations!”

  1. Hope is indeed very powerful, and it is something that needs to interact with obedience, faith, love, and God’s Word that enables us to live victorious in this life. Thank you, Lester for this encouraging post.

  2. Good advice, Lester. I have expressed the same thoughts in a couple of books I have written. If we don’t believe in our dream, no one else will either. If we don’t have active hope, a hope that expects rather than wishes, it is doubtful that we will ever receive what we want.

    • Hi Diane…you’re so right. We derive our basic direction in life from what we’re looking at, what we have our eyes on. If we look down, that’s where we’ll stay. But if we look up, that’s where our salvation and victory comes from. As always Diane, thanks for checking in on me…and thanks for the re-tweet, too! God bless you…

      Lester 🙂

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