Expectations can get the best of us when they are not realistic. This goes for marriage, our working relationships, and even how we raise our children. When we started following Jesus, we had certain expectations, hopes, and dreams of how our lives with Him would turn out. When those expectations do not become realities, this leaves us disappointed as we struggle with experiencing a gap between our expectations and our reality. We may be tempted to try to fix that gap on our own, but until we turn to God to know and love Him on a deeper level, that gap will not be filled.
If you had a time machine that allowed you to rewind so you could visit the past, pause so that you could stay in the present, or fast forward so that you could see the future, which would you choose? Why?
1. Five years ago, where did you expect your life to be today? How different or similar is your expectation from your reality?
2. Read Philippians 3:5-11. When you experience the gap between where you are and where you want to be, which are you most tempted to do? Why do these things not work?
- Try harder to be a good Christian.
- Pretend that everything is okay.
- Attempt to rededicate your commitment level to God.
I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault.
I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!
3. Read Mark 8:34-35. How does self-denial and taking up the cross adjust our expectations?
4. Read Mark 12:28-30. Which command from Jesus in these verses do you find to be the most challenging for you? Why?
- Love God with all of your heart.
- Love God with all of your soul.
- Love God with all of your mind.
- Love God with all of your strength.
5. What do you find to be occupying your attention and affection?
6. Is there anything in your life that is not in control of the Lord? If so, what is it?
7. How are you serving God in your day-to-day life? What team have you invested in? If you are not currently invested in a team at Sagebrush, what team could you invest in?
One way we can love God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength is to practice the Bridge diagram so that we can have a better way of understanding our faith and explaining our faith to others. Pair up in groups of three and practice going through the Bridge diagram. Be prepared to share it with someone who is far from God this week!
Wallpaper available for download in the Sagebrush App.
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.