A long time ago, in the days when there were dragons, I was introduced to a Church on the platform on Sunday morning with the words, “This is Jon, he is a prophet – please welcome him and take him home for dinner!” Thick clouds of expectation hovered over the congregation, and for me it suddenly felt like trying to get revelation out of a brick!
We all know what it is like to live up to other people’s expectations and even our own.
God on the other hand is different. Knowing us inside and out – knowing our presuppositions, tendencies, inadequacies, short-comings, weaknesses as well as the areas of excellence and creativity; he is not ever disillusioned with us or disappointed because He already knows what every given outcome will be.
It is hard to live up to expectations. In such moments, we are always living up to other people’s expectations who themselves, have had significant shortcomings and failures.
We attend to those expectations be cause we are wanting to make other people proud or to achieve a standard that meets the approval of others, and sometimes is essential for further opportunities in life.
Christians have a challenge before them in terms of their conduct and manner of life. It is not just about imitating the faith and patience of those who have gone before us so that we can obtain like promises.
It is much more profound, and it is a radical challenge that few will obtain. In our world that is full to overflowing with grumbling discontentment and ferocious, sometimes violent dispute comes the encouragement, not just to make our parents proud, or our grandparents – but to make the Apostle Paul proud.
Paul has great expectations of you! You have been made holy. Your sins have been forgiven, never to be remembered again. Your guilt has been removed along with your shame. You have been forever reconciled with God and are now, today, reigning with Christ. So what is Paul’s expectation?
Watch your lifestyle! Live as the redeemed of the Lord. Live as those who have been ransomed at great cost by the blood of Christ. And then specifically comes Paul’s great admonition,
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.” (Philippians 2:14-16)
You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you by His Spirit. Do Paul proud.
But as you do – do it for Christ, who you love and adore.