A WORTHY EXPECTATION
This is why I’m so taken with the Apostle Paul’s perspective in the face of unrealized expectations. You might expect that God would grant Paul—the leading apostle of the early church—an ongoing broad access to the growing movement of Christianity.
However, as Paul writes to
the Philippians and encourages them to walk worthy of Christ, he finds himself
restricted by imprisonment in
Yet Paul remains upbeat and not distressed. What is his secret? In Philippians 1:20 he says, “According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death” (NKJV). Paul had one pressing expectation in life: Regardless of the situation he found himself in, he would seek to magnify Jesus. Regardless of where he was or whom he was with, he expected to make Jesus evident through his attitudes and responses.
The best part of the story is in the concluding verses of Philippians, where Paul says, “The saints in Caesar’s household greet you” (Cf. Philippians 4:22). Could it be that while in jail Paul had led some of the guards to Christ through his testimony about his imprisonment for the cause of Christ? That God had restricted his life to a bad place for the purpose of carrying the Gospel into the chambers of the royal palace? Because he expected to magnify Christ wherever he was, Paul saw jail as an opportunity to “bloom where he was planted” for Jesus! Instead of focusing on his enemies in the Roman church, his expectation that Jesus be magnified was fulfilled in that the Gospel was being preached. And this fact led him to rejoice rather than get bogged down in a fight with cantankerous competitive believers.
This all goes to prove that expectations matter … and that only one expectation matters most.
I must admit, making Christ
visibly large through your life regardless of circumstances can be a
challenging expectation. Once I made reservations to fly from
As I arrived at the airport,
I noticed that the ticket-taker, the baggage-handler and the air traffic
controller were all the same person. As he took my bag and began to process my
ticket, he informed me that the cloud ceiling might be too low for the incoming
plane to land in
Then came the bad news. After a second attempt, the pilot announced, “We can’t get the plane down. We’re on our way to the next stop.”
My response was not admirable. As the ticket-taker handed the ticket back to me he said, “Aren’t you a minister?”
I could have crawled in a hole. Sheepishly, I said, yes—to which he replied, “Then God will take care of you!” Fretting, I walked away all in a knot about what I would do, only to remember that an attorney friend had a small plane and had offered to provide transportation if I ever needed it. I called him, and he happily responded with instructions about where I should meet him.
As I left the airport lobby,
I felt ashamed. I had missed an opportunity to magnify Christ. How different it
would have been if I had let the ticket-taker/baggage-handler/air traffic
controller know that it was important for me to get to
If we are to walk worthy of Christ, we have to live with just one expectation: Wherever we are or whomever we are with, we will seek to magnify Christ!
By: Joe Stowell