Sunday, April 9th
Dying to self can be a difficult and daunting undertaking, but it’s what God calls us to do daily in order to experience true life and freedom. This even goes for our expectations of God. Many of us believe God is good, as long as He gives us the answers we think He should. But it’s important to remember that God, our creator, knows best, and just as Jesus had to die on the cross, an unexpected turn of events for those present during that time, we must die to self and kill false expectations of God in our life to walk in the freedom He promises. What expectations of God might you need to die to today?
Work through the following Scriptures and questions on your own, and get together with your running partner, Life Group, or friends and family to talk through what you are learning!
- Have you ever had a moment in your life when you had high expectations, but instead of a great outcome, you experienced great disappointment?
- Name a time when you have been disappointed by someone. Ask yourself: “Did they know what I wanted or needed? Was what I wanted or needed even possible for them to fulfill? Was I imposing on them?” What did you discover by asking yourself these questions? Can you think of a time when you may have faced disappointment because your expectations of others was unreasonable?
- When was a time in your life that you felt disappointed by God? Was this a time when your personal plans did not seem to match the plans God had for you? What did you learn from that experience? Have you asked God what He wanted you to learn from that experience?
- Do you think you have an open heart and mind to who God wants to be for you? Do you have an open heart and mind to what God wants to do in your life and even through your life? If so, where do you see evidence of such openness in your life? If not, how can you begin to be more open to God’s desires for you?
- Read Ephesians 3:20. What, if any, evidence in your life do you see that may show that you are lacking faith for a better future because of your disappointments with God and others? How can we realign our expectations in such a way that we avoid disappointment while keeping faith in a God who measures things so differently than we do? What steps can you take this week toward killing your false expectations of God?
- Knowing the difficulty therein, are you willing to truly follow Jesus? Are you willing to surrender your life—all of your life—to Him? Are you willing to die to your old life and your selfish ways, daily taking up your cross, so that you might truly live? What changes do you believe you’ll have to make to follow God more closely?
Ephesians 3:20 — Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Want to know more about what the Bible says about expectations? There’s a great article offered by GotQuestions.org that explores the topic. Here’s an excerpt from the article.
The Bible lays out some principles that help us form expectations and deal with the expectations of others:
- Communicate: Openness and honesty with ourselves and with others is the first key. We all fail ourselves and others in many ways (James 3:2), and we should be able to admit when we are wrong. We should not base our expectations on mere assumption (see Proverbs 18:13) but on verifiable truth, if at all possible. We should discuss with our loved ones what our expectations are and what theirs are.
- Forgive: The people in Jesus’ day were expecting the Messiah (Luke 3:15), but, when He came, they had some unrealistic expectations of what He’d do. They wanted the Messiah to free them from Rome, and they wrongly expected Jesus to establish His kingdom then and there (Luke 19:11). When He did not fulfill their expectations, they were frustrated and angry enough to kill. But Jesus forgave (Luke 23:34). If Jesus could forgive the men who called out “Crucify Him!” we can forgive our loved ones and friends who harbor wrong expectations of us.
- Love: Love is patient and kind, and it does not insist on its own way (1 Corinthians 13:4–7). We need to remember that all people are different. If we have formed expectations for friends or loved ones that they cannot live up to, it is not their fault. We have the power to change our expectations, and, if we find that our expectations of others are unreasonable, we should be flexible.
In everything, we should look to God and trust Him (Proverbs 3:5–6). His promises are absolutely sound, and our expectation that He will fulfill His Word is called faith. We can expect God to do exactly what He says he will do (2 Corinthians 1:20; Joshua 21:45; Psalm 77:8; 2 Peter 1:4). “The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy” (Psalm 19:7).
To read this article in its entirety, go to HERE.
Spiritual Outcome — Surrender