“for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” -Philippians 1:19-21
Staying in Philippians today because after yesterday’s message of learning about trusting the process, I couldn’t get away from the example Paul is setting here. It blows my mind to see Paul write these things while sitting in prison. His attitude of hope and faith in the worst possible circumstances makes me question a lot about my attitude. As much as I’d love to sit here and wish to be as faithful as Paul or so many other heroic guys in the Bible, it’s awesome knowing that the same Savior that is supplying his faith is the same Savior that we worship today, Jesus Christ! Paul is speaking out of His relationship with Christ, his attitude is solely in the victory Christ won for us on the cross and then raising up from grave! It’s hard to wrap my head around living in that victory and even more putting my daily expectations in His victory.
I constantly look at things with my own vision, I see, feel and act out of how I interpret things to be or on how others interpret it. And that’s why my expectations every day are always so low. We’re constantly influenced with what the world says you can do, who you can be, and who you are. I don’t know about you but I feed into those lies way more than I should and it affects every part of my life. Whether it’s with a struggle I’m having with sin, someone else, or whatever it is, my expectations are horizontal and I see things like fighting a losing battle so in return I am fighting a losing battle. It’s like if you walk out on the football field to play a game, you expectations of winning are pretty low already but you see the other team warming up. WOW!!! Those guys are huge, they’re bigger, faster, and stronger than me so you tell yourself “I’m not winning today.” You feed into the words being said by others about how much better that other team looks and by the time you get on the field to play you’ve already lost.
I hate that I’ve lived my life this way for so many years, living in fear and weakness of what the world says is the truth and my expectations getting so low that when I step on the playing field of life everyday, I’ve already lost. When problems and obstacles come up that look so much bigger than me, my expectations get lower and I’m defeated.
Got some good news for you now! Jesus died on the cross and rose up from the grave on the third day so we could finally break the chains of those old expectations that led to a sad life of sin and death. He did that to bring victory into our lives through having a relationship with Him. When you are operating with Jesus living in and with you, you’ve already won! The victory is yours! Things may not always look like you’re on the winning side in this life but look at Paul’s situation. He’s sitting in prison and because his eyes and heart are fixed above, on Jesus and the victory Jesus won for us, he doesn’t see all the bad and defeat in what others would describe his situation as. He has died to those worldly influences and human expectations but he’s alive in Christ! Paul sees the victory Christ won and what gets me jacked up is the FREEDOM that comes when someone is united closely in their relationship with Christ!
Just think about that Freedom for a second! We don’t have to put our hope and trust in anything or anyone else and thank God we don’t have to put it in ourselves because those expectations bring defeat every single time. When we’re faced with obstacles and struggles that are way bigger than ourselves, that’s okay because when we put our trust and expectations in Christ, in the victory He’s already won for us and who He says we are, those huge giants start to get real small. What freedom that is!!! Looking at situations in our daily lives that should have us shaking at our knees or what the negative influence of the world says about it, we don’t have to give into that! With Christ, we can look at those situations and say “so what? I may be in prison but I still got Christ and whether I die or get outta here both are awesome because I’ll be with Christ.”
I pray we can embrace the expectations of freedom and victory Christ has given us! That we can go into our day not giving into those low and lying expectations! Put our hope and trust in Christ, lifting our eyes to the Kingdom so when we look around us we have Christ-like vision and expectation that no matter what happens, we belong to a Kingdom and Savior that can’t be shaken, can’t be beat!
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