Expectations! We all have them. We expect that people will be nice to us, faithful friends, that we’ll have good health, successful careers, great marriages. But what do we do when life doesn’t live up to our expectations? In Philippians 1, Paul shows us the way. He faced broken expectations of place, people, and the future, yet he remained surprisingly upbeat.
Paul was stuck in prison–not a great place to be! When we get stuck in a tough marriage, an unrewarding job, or a challenging neighborhood, It’s easy to get discouraged. But Paul was wonderfully positive. He said that his suffering helped to advance the gospel (Phil.1:12)
Maybe people haven’t lived up to our expectations. Paul likely expected other believers to encourage him. Instead, some were actually glad he was in jail and were preaching out of “envy and strife”. Paul’s response? ” Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice”.
Maybe it’s an uncertain future–the loss of a friend, a job transfer or a health crisis. Paul knew that at any moment Nero might give the order for his execution, yet he declared, “For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain”.
Adopt only Paul’s expectation–for Christ to be honored no matter what!
My earnest expectation and hope is that. . . Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or death. -Philippians 1:20
You can expect to enjoy God’s presence when you honor Him with your life.