How often have we heard, “It just didn’t work out.” This post is designed to remove some major stumbling blocks that some outstanding persons put in their own path causing themselves lots of unneeded trouble!! Well actually Freud & behavioral psychology have contributed to the problems by skewing (twisting) our culture’s thinking. The morale & quality of an individual soldier influences his unit; likewise when part of the body of Christ is having problems it affects the whole. God did not blunder allowing you or me to live; we need each other, so we all need to be healthy in spirit, mind & body as much as possible.
Behavioral psychology counsels people to overcome problems by doing the opposite…if you are depressed act happy…fake it till you make it. Behaviorists say behavior changes feelings, & at times it can, although there are countless people who have faked being happy, got a moment of happiness from the acting, & then returned right back into the rut they were in. The Word says what is inside of us causes our actions, not the other way around (as behaviorists would have it). Freud developed the idea of idealism to the point that most people think that “good” must be bad because it isn’t “great”. (For instance, an extension of this is how only idols are considered fit to sing. This relates to the trained helplessness the world instills that was described in another recent post.) Frankly, good enough is good enough…but it goes deeper than this. We are asked to give our lives to Christ as believers, & to not give our expectations to Him, creates big messes & often feelings of defeat. Because this message is to men & women of faith & it is going against some of the cultural psychobabble people have unwittingly absorbed into their thinking, we will shift to God’s Word.
What problem is my post talking about? Expectations. Let’s look at 4 verses that describe what this post is about: “Hope deferred [an unmet expectation] makes the heart sick.” (a) “My soul waits silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him.” (b) “Oh God…my flesh longeth for thee in a dry & thirsty land…” (c) “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do….For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.”(d) a) PRV 13:12 b) PS 62:5 c) PS 63:1 d) ROM 7:15, 19
REVIEW. In verse a, we note that our expectations make us sick. In b, we see the King David has given his expectations to God, and then the next psalm (verse c) shows he was giving it under adverse conditions. Finally, in quote d, we are given a picture of the struggle Paul has with his expectations for himself, & his immediate sense of failure (which he overcomes by the way w/ Christ). The concept of the Christian faith is that we give our life (our total life incl. hopes, expectations, rights, will power, & choices) to God, and He gives it back to us in an improved version. By surrendering our will (cf. MK 14:36) we are compared to a fruit on the vine. We must stay attached to the vine (God) to thrive. Another picture often used is of a tree planted in a good location; of course a tree planted in good soil w/ plenty of water will flourish. “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly…he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither…” PS 1:1, 3.
Let’s look at an example, our personal expectations. We are not to compare ourselves w/ others, nor measure ourselves or our acquaintances by others. (2 COR 10:12, 17, 18 & JN 5:44) When we are sick & discouraged by our expectation that such & such was not like we expected or wanted in ourselves, others, or situations we may fall into judgment by God…”Woe to him who strives with his Maker…Shall the clay say to him who forms it, “What are you making?” ISA 45:9 We have to move on in faith (in a sense let go), realizing that God is at work w/ us “to will & to act according to His good purpose.” PLP 2:13 Growth of several kinds does not occur at once, it is a step by step process for all of us. What Paul meant when he said, “I boast of my weakness…so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 COR 12:9) is that he is recognizing that like a tree that produces fruit by being in good soil w/ water, the growth (like spiritual change & wisdom) is an invisible work that God does in us.
I know some of the readers want to succeed so desperately, yet have to deal w/ lots of contradictory advice: Do I set goals for success OR take no thought for tomorrow? Do I more forward in life w/ confidence OR do I have no confidence in the flesh? Should I have self-control OR be Christ-controlled? This post perhaps opened up many issues w/out trying,… we want to have the mind of Christ: “In peace is My dwelling place.” PS 76:2. Sometimes we overanalyze & try too hard. We grasp things tightly & they slip through our fingers, when we need to release them to God and let Him take care of it. The bottom line of this post is that when we give our lives to Christ, we should also give our expectations to Him. I know that’s a novel concept today, but I’ve seen it work wonders!!
FINAL THOUGHT. Out of respect for this post & its author, I am asking that those who want to start to argue about this post on the thread…STOP…. This is a short post & it can’t cover every angle & pre-empt every objection. Godly contentment & the peace of God are valuable.