Monday, December 10, 2012

My soul, wait only upon God and silently submit to Him; for my hope and expectation are from Him. Psalm 62:5

During this Advent season one of the words I’m dwelling on is expectations. I loved reading Charles Dickens' Great Expectations in my 9th grade English class. Born in humble circumstances and poorly educated, Pip's great expectations were to become a wealthy and educated gentleman. His life was suddenly turned upside down when he was visited by a London lawyer to inform him that he had come into the great expectations of handsome property and would be trained as a gentleman on the behalf of an anonymous benefactor. Unfortunately, Pip’s financial and social rise also resulted in an emotional and moral decline as he focused on wealth and status.

Perhaps a better role model for living in expectation is Simeon, the honorable Jew who lived in eager anticipation of the coming Christ.

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God…” Luke 2:25-28

Simeon was a righteous man who lived his life waiting with expectation, eagerly looking for the “consolation of Israel,” the one who would fulfill the hopes and dreams of the Jews. Imagine be known as one who was so filled with God’s spirit that he lived a life excited about coming Christ. Imagine living a life, day after day, with excitement and anticipation of the Messiah. For generations, the promise that a Messiah would be born in Bethlehem was passed on from father to son, from mother to daughter, and from family to family. After centuries of waiting, God’s promise came true as Simeon held the expected one in his arms. In the baby Jesus, Simeon saw the long awaited one, the fulfillment of the prophecy.

Living in expectation is an important part of life because it brings with it hope and excitement. During this advent season we are to commemorate the birth of Jesus but we are also to live with eager anticipation for his return.

Is it possible to devote our lives to the eager expectation that Simeon demonstrated?

Isaiah 40:31 shows us what happens in our lives when we live in eager expectation for God.

"But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired." (Amplified Bible)

We will gain strength and power. We will draw closer to God. We will run and not become tired. I would like to stir up my expectations but what does that mean?

Philippians 1:20 tells us how our lives will look when we eagerly for Christ.

"For I live in eager expectation and hope that I will never do anything that causes me shame, but that I will always be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past, and that my life will always honor Christ, whether I live or I die." (NLT)

When we are committed to expectant living, we choose to live a life that doesn’t cause shame, is bold for Christ, and honors him.

As we anticipate the return on Christ, here are some ways to live with expectancy:

• Ask God to stir up your heart with a spirit of expectancy.

• Read scriptures that focus on the blessed hope we have in life eternal with Christ and with his return to earth.

• Remain faithful to your biblical purpose: to glorify God and edify others.

• Live in love and serve in ministry

• Surround yourself with others who choose to live a life of hope and anticipation for Christ’s return.

“Come, thou long expected Jesus!”


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