It was no coincidence that my good friend, Alan Platt, was scheduled to speak at staff chapel the week after we announced a hefty increase in our 2015 ministry goals. Alan is no stranger to audacious faith as he leads teams at Doxa Deo—a city-focused church and educational institute planting in Africa and beyond—as well as City Changers Institute, which catalyzes urban transformation movements.
Alan had a message prepared, but the night before chapel the Lord gave him a word. Obediently, Alan put his prepared sermon aside and instead faithfully shared this powerful message. I’m positive that this potent missive on “expectancy” wasn’t meant solely for our staff, so I’m sharing it with you. I feel in my spirit that there are a lot of us operating in a comfortable place bordering on complacency that need to move to a posture of expectancy and allow God to do His great work.
Having been in Christian ministry for many years, I think we can fall into a trap of apathy where we are tempted to operate from a place of no longer expecting God to enlarge your capacity.
I’ve found these three truths revolutionary to escaping a passive stance and renewing anticipation in the expectancy of faith in God as it relates to our future.
- God meets us at the level of our expectancy.
So often in the ministry of Jesus, we see His pattern of meeting people at the level of what they expected him to do for them. For instance:
- Jairus’s daughter was dying. He asks Jesus to come to his house and heal her. Jesus goes to the house, heals his daughter and she lives.
- A Roman centurion’s servant was very sick. This military man understood authority and expected that if Jesus spoke a word, it would be executed. Jesus speaks and the servant is healed.
- A bleeding woman touches Jesus’ hem. She expects that if she can just get close enough to touch the miracle-working Rabbi’s clothing, she’ll be healed. When she touches his garment, Jesus knows and she is healed.
- A blind man in Jericho tells Jesus the desire of his heart. Jesus asks him, “what do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replies that he wants Jesus to restore his sight, and it is done.
As you can see, Jesus did not follow a pattern in His miracles. Instead, when one of God’s children placed a demand, God met it. This is true not only for individuals, but also corporately for communities.
When Jesus goes to Capernaum, the whole town gathers. Everybody who crowded around Jesus was ministered to or healed. Even a man whose friends had to lower him through the roof because the crowds with their great expectations left no room to enter the house!
Next Jesus goes to Nazareth—his birthplace. But the people aren’t sure about him. So Jesus didn’t do many miracles there, “because of their unbelief” (Matthew 13:58). What an extraordinary statement! Again, Jesus met them at the level of their expectancy.
Let this be a lesson to us! It was the same Jesus in Capernaum who went to Nazareth! He had the same anointing and capacity. But in Nazareth, there was skepticism instead of Capernaum’s faith-filled exuberance of expectancy.
- Expectancy depends on what God says, not on my circumstances.
When God speaks, it changes the very anticipation of my life. No matter the circumstances, crises or damage, when God speaks there is hope.
Take Abraham, well past childbearing age. But then, God speaks! Hope is expectation. Faith works on the hope that we have that is birthed when we hear the voice of the Lord.
When you think about the future, you often think in pictures. Watch, and I’ll explain:
As you process information, it affects the pictures in your mind. If you have the wrong source of information, you’ll have the wrong picture in your mind, and if you have the wrong picture in your mind you’ll have the wrong expectation of the future.
God wants to speak into our hearts and influence whatever situation you are facing. But you’ve got to hear God, and sense that He’s speaking into your spirit. Like Abraham, listening to God’s voice changed the pictures in his mind and gave him hope.
Are you living today simply as an extension of yesterday? Or are you stirred and alive by the “picture” or vision for your life?
- Expectancy creates an atmosphere for the supernatural.
In 2 Kings 4:1-7, we read of a widow in crisis. Elisha instructs her to go to ALL of her neighbors and collect empty jars, shut the door and pour oil into them. She did exactly as she was told. And as there were jars left to be filled—the oil kept flowing. When the jars ran out, the oil stopped flowing.
Not only is this a beautiful story of God’s provision in the life of a widow, but also a powerful illustration of expectancy. The oil might still be flowing today if she had gathered an infinite number of jars!
How many jars do you have? Or have you just settled? Accepting. Or is there something in you that says “God I know what you can do. Grant me the capacity to create more jars.”
God wants to do incredible things as we live in expectancy that He will move.
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