“Ideals are always difficult to translate into reality. For that reason, many attempts to make real life fit an ideal seem to end in compromise.” The editors of “The American Experience” text series
We all do it: get a vision in our head of what the new job, house, marriage, city, car, school, committee, etc. will be like. And for most of us, the expectations we hold are positive--which is a good thing--but also a bad thing when our high expectations aren’t met. Then we feel let down, frustrated and wanting to either cut and run or give-in, throwing conviction and integrity out the door.
The Christian life, however, affords a way to bring our expectations into proper perspective by first checking our motivations with God by whom we can test everything. That’s so important when we’re dealing with people and building relationships. When we check our motivations, ask for our sins to be revealed, seek encouragement and ask for discernment from the one and only source of wisdom and truth, we become equipped to manage expectations and bring them in line with God’s will. For instance, we can determine whether the new venture is something we should even be involved with; we can see the new boss or mother-in-law from God’s perspective; we can pray about a weakness we ourselves have as well as pray for others; and we can daily read God’s word that will shed light on the fact that we will indeed have tribulation, regardless of our situation, but will also have guidance on overcoming and recovering from it.
Ideally, we’d never have to be patient or long-suffering. Ideally, it would never be ourselves that is the problem. Ideally, the new job, house or city would provide a fresh beginning with none of the problems of the past. Many people feel downright entitled to these ideals. But since this sort of perfection has never been the case for anyone in life, it won’t be the case for us, either--no matter how hard we try to convince ourselves.
Jesus Christ and His Word can grow us into spiritual maturity so that we can humbly yet confidently go forth realistically, knowing that life most certainly will throw the usual strife our way, but we can remain joyful, patient and true to God through a steady trust in Him.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24