One of the most famous quotes attributed to William Carey, who is considered to be the father of modern missions, is “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.” The majority of the time, we get exactly what we expect from life. Do you remember these words of Jesus?
Matthew 9:29 “That which you believe will be done to you in accordance with your faith.”
In point of fact, Jesus uttered those words when He was addressing a number of people who came to Him with a particular need, either for themselves or for others. They approached Him with a feeling of anticipation. What they had seen and heard Jesus do for others motivated them to approach Him with their own needs. As they put their faith in Him, their expectations were met.
Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Take a moment to put your own expectations into perspective. To what extent do you anticipate God to intervene in your life? How is your marriage going? It is your children? What is your line of work? Your financial situation? In life, each of us has certain expectations. There are instances when we simply do not get detailed enough to recognise them and then pray to God about them. But if we place our trust in a powerful God, we are able to live our lives with great expectations.
1 Peter 1:3d (NLT) “Now we live with great expectations.”
One of the things that I find most fascinating about this text is the fact that Peter was writing to early believers of Christ who were living during a period of great danger and peril. They had been dispersed throughout a variety of locations, forced from their homes as a result of intense persecution, and were going through a variety of challenges.
Nevertheless, in spite of everything that has happened, Peter writes to them with optimism and gladness, reminding them of their standing in Christ. It was as if they had been rejuvenated. As a consequence of this, Peter tells them,
1 Peter 1:3-5 “Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance – an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.”
I believe that he was trying to encourage them to raise their expectations to a higher reality than the one that they were currently experiencing. As you can see, having such an expectation motivates you to persevere in order to achieve greater success. The willingness to persevere through things that may be painful at the time but will ultimately prove to be beneficial to you is what we mean when we talk about perseverance.
Peter was providing them with a refresher on what they should anticipate. This is summed up in verse 6, where he says, “So be truly glad! Despite the fact that things are going to be difficult for a while down here, there is amazing joy that lies ahead.”
When your expectations are in Christ, you are able to live in the present moment with a spirit of tremendous anticipation, regardless of what you are going through.