February 20, 2014

Great Expectation

“… Now we live with great expectation.”

1 Peter 1:3d (NLT) 

Expectations are a driving force in life. We generally get out of life what we are expecting. Jesus said, “According to your faith, will it be done to you.” (Matt. 9:29 NIV)  In fact, Jesus used that phrase when speaking to a number of people who approached Him with a personal need for themselves or others. They came to Him with an expectation. 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 says, Faith assures us of things we expect and convinces us of the existence of things we cannot see.” (GW) Consider your own expectations for a minute. What are you expecting God to do in your life? With your marriage? Your children? Your career?  Your finances? We all have expectations in life. Sometimes we just don’t get specific enough to identify them and commit them in prayer to God. But when we put our faith in a big God, we can live with great expectation! The fascinating thing to me about this passage is that Peter was writing to early Christ followers who were living in perilous times. They had been scattered in various places exiled from their homes because of severe persecution and were enduring all kinds of trials and difficulty.  Yet, despite all of that, Peter writes to them with joyful hope reminding them of their position in Christ. They had been “born again.” (vs. 3) As a result he tells them, “Now we live in 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.” (vs. 3-5) I think he was encouraging them to raise their expectations to a greater reality than the one they were enduring for the moment. You see that kind of expectation gives you perseverance for a greater gain. Perseverance is the willingness to endure things that may be unpleasant at the moment but will prove to reward you in the end. Peter was reminding them of what they could expect. In verse 6 he sums it up, “So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though the going is rough for a while down here.” (LB) No matter what you’re going through, you can live “now with great expectation” when you put your expectations in Christ.