So far this year has started off nicely. Oh, not without a few minor hiccups as happens in life, but God is good and therefore everything has followed his plan - I have no doubt. I've been building relationships, racing through literature, fasting, praying and most recently been preparing for my future career with my teaching rounds. In fact, my teaching rounds have exposed an idea that I wish to discuss with the rest of you.
This is the idea of expectation. In my first class (taken this previous Monday) I was told that I 'cheated' slightly in relying upon the more eager and active students to answer questions. I was advised to make sure that I involve all the students in my questioning so that even if they didn't know the answer that it would provide an interesting little academic challenge to them. They wouldn't be able to drift off to sleep as I droned on, or as the most intelligent and exuberant students participated actively. My supervisor told me this: if you set your expectations for students low they will meet those expectations.
This is a thought that has stuck through me into the rest of the week. I believe it is so true, if you set low expectations for students most of the time they will only just meet those expectations. Certainly, a couple of students might excel - but the rest of the class will try to meet the bare minimum. As they say, you should shoot for the moon so that if you fail you will land among the stars (or crash and burn up in the upper atmosphere as someone else cleverly put it). The point here is that you should not set low expectations in life - don't set unrealistic expectations either of course, but challenge yourself and allow yourself to be challenged by God.
God has the best expectations for your life. He expects nothing but perfection from us - perfection that we cannot meet. Sound like an impossibility? Well yes it is, we cannot meet God's expectation in our own strength. But we can meet these expectations through following Jesus Christ as our Lord and saviour. Only he alone can help us to meet those righteous expectations.
For the believer, God has further expectations on us. That doesn't mean that we succeed all the time. He knows that I do fail (because of my own weakness of character when compared to who He is), but he also provides his grace to help us with our weaknesses. God expects nothing more or less than who we are - to be his living sacrifices in our day-to-day life. In one sense that's a small expectation, on the other it is the greatest thing anyone can expect from you. And as we submit to His expectation of us, to become holy as He is holy then we can expect to see the power of the impossible: Mark 9:23 (ESV) "23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”"
Michael Jordan once said that "I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying." Our church message for this year is to expect to be surprised by God in 2015. I myself want to expect that God will do as He will and that what he wills, shall be good and shall be great. So I challenge myself and anyone reading this to expect the miraculous this year. Don't set your expectations low!