The Power of Expectations

Recently, we have had two Sunday sermons discuss the power of expectations.  The people of Jesus' day had different expectations for who the Messiah was supposed to be.  They expected a warrior-king like King David, one who would defeat Rome and restore Israel to her former glory.  So when Jesus came along and fulfilled some of their Messianic expectations, but not others, they were confused and often unable to recognize who Jesus was and what He was doing.

Expectations play a heavy hand in how we live our lives.

What we expect of people usually dictates our levels of satisfaction.  If people do what we expect, we are happy with them.  If they don't, we are frustrated, even angry, with them.  It is true of every relationship we have.  It is true with Jesus, with spouses, with family, with co-workers, with employees, with strangers, with everyone.  

That doesn't mean that we shouldn't have any expectations of anyone, but it does mean that we should have proper and healthy expectations.  And more often than not, it means that we need to communicate our expectations, both to ourselves and to others.

Much of our frustration comes from others not living up to our uncommunicated expectations.  We expect others to know, and to give us, what we want.  How many marriages, families, and workplaces would be happier if we had proper expectations that we appropriately communicate to others.  

When it comes to our relationship with God, we also need to be mindful that our expectations need to be in line with who He is and what He wills to do.  So much of our frustration and disillusionment with God comes from expecting Him to do something different in our lives.  Normally, it revolves around making us happy.

The problem is, our expectations are typically deeply rooted in our desires.  We expect to get what we want.  And when it comes to God, we expect Him to give us what we want, because after all, if He loves us, that's what we should expect Him to do.  

But what is it that God actually wants to do in our lives?  

He wants to make us holy and to unite us to Himself.  You see, when what we want is God, we want holiness and we find the deepest satisfaction in Him for who He is.  

Is that what you really want?

CS Lewis, as he so often does, offers some insight here.  

"If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak.  We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offers us...We are far too easily pleased."


"There have been times when I think we do not desire heaven, but more often I find myself wondering whether, in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else."

Our expectations are deeply rooted in our desires, which are often set, at one and the same time, upon things other than God and God Himself.  All our desires are ultimately a shadow of our longing for God.  And the more we use even those lesser desires to draw us to the one great desire, the more our expectations of God and others will come into line and yield satisfaction in life.


1 Comment

Don - June 6th, 2022 at 2:22am

This is an insightful and thought-provoking sermon about relationships. This will very certainly be added to my collection of the finest sermons available, which currently includes C.S. Lewis, Keion Henderson, and more well-known and well-respected ministers!