Living Up to Expectations

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“My soul, wait only upon God; for my expectation is from Him.  He only is my rock and my salvation: He is my defence; I shall not be moved.”  Psalm 62:5,6

Yesterday, I was fed by God’s Word at a Bible study.  It was on patience.  I think I’m a pretty patient person.  But upon listening, I’m seeing that I’m not really up to God’s patience with some people in my life right now, I mean, if I’m really honest about it.  Here I have this Savior, You Jesus, who has always been longsuffering.  I mean, it’s not only the Israelites who were hard-headed and stubborn.  Sometimes I’m right there with them and just as blind to it as some of them were.  And I need You to open my eyes and take the scales off just as much as Saul did before He came to know You.  The sad thing is, that I already know You.  So how can I get so blind to certain things in me in the midst of knowing You?

Maybe part of it has to do with expectations.  And I think I’m beginning to see or maybe re-see that there is sometimes a really big difference between my expectations and Your expectations.  The Hebrew word for expectations (King James Version) also translated as hope in the English Standard Version is “tiqvah.”  Literally, it is a cord.  It’s an expectation, hope, or thing I long for.  But this “cord,” what is it binding me to?  Is it a cord that binds me to You or is it just some cord I’ve created that just binds.  I mean, have a created my own cord and am I binding myself and others by this cord?  Because Your cord binds us to You and each other, yet at the same time sets us all free.  The cords of my creation just bind, and bind tighter, and control and have nothing to do with freeing anyone.

My soul, wait only upon God.  Let You be my every thought.  I ought to have no thought that’s not Yours first.  I might as well be dumb, be silent, be without action if it’s not from You.  Is my expectation for myself and for others from You and You alone?  Or have I fashioned my own expectations?

Here’s the problem for me.  I read Your Word.  I see what Your desire is for each of us in whatever area of life.  Whether it’s Your expectations for husbands or wives or children or friends or believers or enemies or workers or soldiers, I read that and I see that and I agree with You.  I see those expectations and I apply them to myself.  But I also apply those expectations to others.  And then I start to think, well, “You are not living up to God’s expectations for you.”  Guess what?  Then I want to move them toward those expectations.  I just learned something.  That’s not my job.  Those are not my expectations.  They are Your expectations for each of us.  You are in control of bringing Your expectations to pass in each of us.  I can’t guide anyone to live up to Your expectations because I don’t really know what they need to get there.  But You do because You know each one of our hearts.  You know when You designed each one of us to understand, to submit.

In order for me or anyone to live up to Your expectations, we each need to see our need to come to You alone as our rock, to You alone as our salvation, to You alone as our defence.  My focus must be on allowing You to enable me to live up to Your expectations.  I need to take my eyes off of my expectations for others, no matter how good my intentions, because I’m not God and it’s sin for me to play God.  I don’t know other people’s hearts.  I don’t know their deepest needs that need to be met.  I don’t know what is really going on inside between You and them.  Who am I to think I know what they need?

Who am I except someone who is learning to live in Your expectations?  I’m right there with them.  Maybe I’m further along and maybe I’m not.  But maybe it’s time I offered grace and love instead of holding people to expectations.  Funny thing is that I’m in the midst of a broken relationship right now because someone else has set expectations on me and I have disappointed them.  And there is no way for me to be able to live up to their expectations.  But isn’t that what I’m turning around and doing to someone else?  How can I be so easily blinded?

Proverbs 10:28 warns, “The hope of the righteous shall be gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish.”  Why?  Because one expectation is left in the Lord’s hands, in Your hands, and the other is controlled by human hands.  Proverbs 11:23 says, “The desire of the righteous is only good: but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.”  The longing, the thing that satisfies the righteous person is the thing that is good in Your eyes, is You.  But the expectation of the wicked is all wrapped up in his own passions.  It’s not about Your passion, Lord, it’s all about my own.  My expectations want Your will in other people’s lives so that it’s good for me, not just them.  But Your expectations are all about Your will and the good of others that is only found in You and in the middle of Your will.

Well, I needed that council.  But I need to not just hear it and think about it.  I need to take it to heart and obey it.  See, “God has spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongs unto God.  Also unto You, O Lord, belongs mercy: for You render to every man according to his work.”  Psalm 62:11,12  Dear Lord, don’t let me be like the unmerciful servant.  The same mercy and longsuffering You have shown me, let me demonstrate to others.  Keep my eyes on You so that I can remove my expectations on others and just expect You to be You in every circumstance and in every life.  Don’t let me bind myself or others with cords I have fashioned myself.  Let me live in Your freedom and let me rejoice to allow others to live in Your freedom.  Forgive me for the bonds I have been holding others in.  Set us both free.  I am so grateful that the power belongs to You and not me.  Because I prove time and time again I make a rotten god.  Keep me from trying to do Your work and teach me to understand the work You call me to and Your expectations for me.

Don’t let me ever forget that You know the thoughts that You think toward me.  That they are thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give me an expected end. (Jeremiah 29:11)  See, You not only have already lined up my expectations in You, but my friend’s, my husband’s, my daughter’s, my neighbor’s, and my enemy’s.  You’re the One that has it all in line.  Your the One that has it all fixed, who knows what You are doing about it and what needs to be done.  You are the one in control, not me.  So, turn away our captivity, Lord, that we have created by living up to our expectations and wanting others to live up to them.  You, bring us to You.  Turn us to You and You alone.  Let me free others so that they can find You because I would hate to be the one who held them back by my expectations.

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