In my post “Taking thoughts captive (Ungodly Beliefs),” I talk about the pygmalion effect (self-fulfilling prophecy) and how we can avoid it when we are mindful to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). God has been highlighting this theme of expectations, this is the third and final (for now anyway) portion, and it runs along the same theme, which is to be in expectation of good. So let’s start with Hebrews 11:6 (AMP), which is foundational.
But without faith it is impossible to [walk with God and] please Him, for whoever comes [near] to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He rewards those who [earnestly and diligently] seek Him.
This scripture was highlighted in my post “Substance of Faith,” in which I shared that “Faith is essential. And you cannot claim to be a person of faith if you don’t truly believe He ‘is’ – but also (and this is the one so many people struggle with) that He is a rewarder.”
This is where it ties back to the concept of expecting good. Do you truly believe that God wants to bless you? So many people who love the Lord (and “earnestly and diligently seek Him”) have either very low expectations for what God can and will do in their lives, or worse – they don’t believe He wants to bless them at all (often because they don’t feel “worthy” of being blessed). To make matters worse, this expectation of less-than-good or not-good can often lead to self-fulfilling prophecy, where we then draw that outcome to ourselves and then get the “pleasure” of being right.
In my post “The Impact of Expectations (How-to Manage Your Expectations),” I talk about how powerful expectations can be, and how we manage them can position us for good or set us up for failure. We need to know the difference between our hopes and expectations. Staying in a place of having an expectation of good, isn’t about the specifics. It isn’t saying “if God loves me, He will do ____.” It’s about living from a place of knowing His plans for you are good, so even when not-good things happen, you know that even in those moments – somewhere there is good. We see this articulated in James 1:2-3 (NIV).
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
As we live with this expectation of good, our lives then become a testament to God’s very nature because the fact that we know Him, allows us to trust His heart for us, and our trust in His heart for us declares Him worthy of trust to those who don’t know him. In this way, we become true living testimonies to the goodness of God. The sobering part though is that when we do NOT have an expectation of good, the opposite is true. Then our lives unintentionally declare that we don’t believe God is good, which hopefully isn’t how we truly feel (if it is that’s a whole different ballgame). I share more about this in my post “Showing God is Worthy of Our Trust (Numbers 20).”
We can trust that God’s plans for us are good, that He wants to bless us, that He is mindful of us, that He will provide what we need, that He will walk with us in trials and strengthen us to persevere, etc. This is living with an expectation of good. And not just in our interactions with God, but with people too because He is sovereign – so even in those relationships, He is still at work.
If someone has let you down, you can choose to be a victim, or you can remember God is sovereign and ask Him why He allowed it to happen. Let me give you an example, lets say that a friend has made plans with you and stood you up. You can choose to feel hurt by that, or you can ask God why He allowed it to happen. Perhaps He had something else He wanted you to do with that time, or perhaps He is wanting to highlight that this particular friend isn’t someone you can depend on and maybe you need to scale back your relationship with them (which may be Him protecting you from future, larger wounds from them).
This all comes back to trusting God. Trusting He is at work. Trusting He is good. Trusting He is moving on your behalf, etc. If you’re struggling with having an expectation of good, consider what the root of that is. Then take it to God and ask for Him to heal it. Do whatever you need to to get to that place of expecting good, both because it will be a blessing for you and because God is worthy of our trust.