December 20 – Behind the Christmas Card – Expectations

Read Proverbs 10:28 and Philippians 3:20-21

There are many reasons why we dread the Christmas season. Such reasons have already been mentioned in this series with another one being expectations. Getting together with family could very well include family members sharing their expectations with you:

  • “Are you really still at that job? You need to work at ___.
  • “Are you and ___ still dating? When are you going to pop the question?”
  • “You’re looking a little chunky there. You should go on a diet.”

Hopefully, your expectations aren’t that blunt, but we all face them in one way or another, either placing them on ourselves or having them placed on us.

The difference between proper and negative expectations is all in the motive.

We all know what it’s like to be held under, what we believe to be, unrealistic expectations. I know that I do. The weight that you feel seems incredibly heavy. We all have examples that come flooding to our minds as we read this. Maybe the person that was holding you to such expectations didn’t have the best of intentions. I have been there as well. How do you handle that? I know I wasn’t the most godly all the time in how I coped with it. I just couldn’t get behind anything because I couldn’t see the expectations as realistic.

However, there’s another side to the coin. What happens, and how do you respond, when someone, with the right intentions, pushes you to be better?

When I was a (VERY) immature teenager, my dad never faltered. He never failed to tell me, lovingly yet factually, that I need to be relentless in my pursuit to honor the Lord. “When you do something, do it 100%”, “Never let someone question your work ethic,” “Do whatever it takes to do the job well and, when you get credit for it, point to the Lord.”

That’s something I can get behind.

Our reading this morning talks about positive and negative motives. Proverbs references expectations made by the flesh. As much as we would consider certain family members to be wicked, Solomon is telling us to trust in the Lord and live by his expectations which are laid out in Philippians 3. Expectations from the spirit will captivate you about God! As a follower of Christ, think of your heavenly future! Now THAT is proper motivation. Do whatever you can to share this hope throughout this holiday season!

Jake Lawson

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