For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.
You may not realize it but your life is always filled with expectations. Your expectations are either positive or negative. Pessimists expect nothing but defeat in their lives. They live without hope. Optimists find something positive in every situation. They expect God’s blessing through any hardship. Your life will always bear the fruit of what your expectations are.
Our expectations come from what we believe about God, ourselves, and others, and what we allow to influence our lives. If you question God’s love for you, you doubt if He will take care of you. If you were raised with negativity, you will doubt yourself. You will doubt how others think about you. If you are allowing negative things to influence your life, you are feeding a defeatist attitude. If you think about your past with shame and guilt, you probably expect more of the same. Your attitude about life is powerful. It greatly affects your outcome.
In Philippians 1:20, Paul speaks of expectation and hope as separate things. Your expectations make up your attitude. It is your approach to life. Your attitude is either based on the truth of God’s promises or on your fears and limitations. The hope of God that is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5) grows when we have positive expectations. If faith is the substance of things hoped for (Hebrews 11:1), and if it grows when we have positive expectations, then a negative view of life can never be an environment that inspires faith. You are motivated by faith when positive expectations and hope are alive. This is the very reason many believers struggle to live a victorious life.
Expectations, hope, and faith all spring from one of two sources: you have been promised something or you have sown a seed in your heart. God gives His promises to trigger our faith. His promises are true. He cannot lie. Faith comes when we “hear” His Word (Romans 10:17)—not when we have “heard” His Word. Faith springs from an alive and fresh Word. God has also determined that both natural and spiritual seeds will increase according to their nature. A farmer who sows a seed can expect a harvest. A believer who sows the seed of God’s incorruptible truth into his heart can expect a harvest of God’s promise. And when you sow the love and grace of God into others, you can expect a harvest of love and grace. You reap what you sow.
What do you expect in your life? What is the source of your attitude and approach to life? If you are building your life on God’s truth and His promises—if you are sowing the seed of His Word in your heart—if you are tending and protecting it from the lies of the enemy, then you will undoubtedly live a life of faith. But if the source of your expectation, hope, and faith is not the promise of God that has been sown in your heart, you will see everything in your life with negativity and pessimism. You will live your life on your own strength instead of believing by faith in God’s truth.
You receive through the grace of Jesus—through His finished and complete work of grace. You receive from the Lord according to your earnest expectation and hope.
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).