Summary: It’s important we understand the role that our expectation has as it relates to becoming content in whatsoever state we’re in, gracefully waiting until the Lord’s Word is performed in our lives.
A. This is the fifth installment of our ongoing series entitled “Graceful Waiting.” We’ve been talking about how the unfolding will and blessing of God doesn’t happen instantaneously; it takes place through a process of time, and therefore, we must learn how to be content while we wait on the Lord.
B. In this installment, we will talk about the fifth key that will help you to be content while waiting on the Lord—expectation. In Philippians 4, Paul said that he learned to be content in whatsoever state he’s in. He also said in Philippians 1:19-20, For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and my hope.
C. Paul was in prison having gone through a Roman trial and he had a death sentence hanging over his head, yet he said, “But I know that this shall turn to my salvation … according to my earnest expectation.” It’s important we understand the role that our expectation has as it relates to becoming content in whatsoever state we’re in, gracefully waiting until the Lord’s Word is performed in our lives.
D. The Strong’s concordance tells us that earnest expectation means “intense anticipation.” Paul was content because he “intensely anticipated” salvation. Because Paul intensely anticipated salvation from his circumstances, he went on to say, It is my earnest expectation and my hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed.
1. In this context, what would make a person ashamed? Failing would, because you believed in the wrong thing.
E. You could read it this way: “I am absolutely confident, I earnestly expect, I intensely anticipate that in nothing shall I be ashamed. And even if it’s death as well as life, my life will glorify God.”
F. Paul had a handle on the fear of death and that made him unafraid. He was saying that it didn’t matter if he lived or died, because to live is Christ, to die is gain. He hadn’t invested his believing in something worthless. He believed “this deal is going to turn to my salvation one way or the other.” That is how you intensely anticipate.
G. When you “intensely anticipate” the promise of God being manifest, you know this is going to turn to your salvation one way or another because God said He never leaves you and never forsakes you. You can rejoice in the Lord because you intensely anticipate your situation turning around tomorrow.
H. If tomorrow comes and nothing changes, then you build that intense anticipation back up again until you can walk out the door that day intensely anticipating the next day is going to be your day. It’s a daily process. This is what the fight of faith is about.
I. Expectation is the final step to manifestation and it is how you become content while waiting. If you intensely anticipate the answer will come tomorrow, it makes today enjoyable. This is the life of faith. Expectation makes you feel content in whatsoever state you’re in because you know what’s coming.
J. Expectation is an extension of faith and it’s the final process of maturing of faith. However, expectation isn’t automatic. Faith is when you believe the Word is true, but if you fail to personalize it, you won’t expect it.
1. Some people have difficulty personalizing God’s Word because they feel unworthy or condemned. Perhaps they feel condemned for their past lifestyles and don’t feel worthy to receive God’s promises. Others have been sick all their lives and they have trouble seeing their lives any other way; therefore, it’s hard for them to personalize it. Some people believe God heals but they have a hard time believing it for themselves. Expectation comes when you believe God’s Word is His will for you. Expectation is the final maturation of your faith, and it’s the final step to manifestation.
K. Proverbs 23:18 says For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off. Now this is talking about an end of your life, an end of your battle, an end of your challenge, whatever you’re trying to overcome. There’s an end to whatever adversity you presently find yourself in. It says there is an end or consequence that goes with that end; “thine expectation will not be cut off.” What are you expecting in your life? That’s what you’re going to get.
L. Many Christians expect the worst. They expect the bill collectors to show up on their doorstep. When there’s a lay off, they expect to be fired because they’re always one of the ones to go. If they’ve been treated badly all their lives, they expect that will continue. Many people expect the worst. The Bible says that your expectation is not going to be cut off. You’ll get whatever you expect.