Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Orange Moon Wednesday, January 3, 2024 "Great Expectations"

The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…

(a repeat from 2015)

"Great Expectations"    

(I think somebody's already used this title, actually…)


    Should the born again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ expect to consistently obey or disobey God?  The Bible answers the question in no uncertain terms.

    "His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness" (II Peter 1:3).

    "They which receive abundance of grace and of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:17).

    The answer we personally offer, however, may not ring with the same confidence and assurance as implied in these definitive Scriptural affirmations.  Past experience, the awareness of our human weakness, and even an erroneous concept of humility may lead us to low expectations.   If confronted with the New Testament's ongoing declaration of our enabling through Christ, we may be tempted to respond...

     "Yes, all that may be true in some manner.  My frequent failure miles, however, tell a different story.  I'm obviously just not dedicated or spiritual enough to expect the consistency and triumph suggested by the Bible.  I know it's not right, but there just doesn't seem to be anything I can do about it!"

    Note several features of the mournful resignation that characterizes this defeatist confession.  First, self focus and self absorption pave the path of failure.  The Christian life was never meant to be lived by the power of our own dedication and spirituality.  We rather "look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" as the holy means whereby the quality of His life manifests itself in our own - "the just shall live by faith" (Hebrews 12:2; Romans 1:17).  We focus upon our Savior's  frequent faithful miles, as it were.  As a friend says, we keep the first thing, the first thing, and the main thing, the main thing.  "Christ, the power of God" supplies the first and the main thing (I Corinthians 1:24).  "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might" (Ephesians 6:10).  Failure to faithfully obey God means we have not availed ourselves of His promised and present enabling through the Lord Jesus.  A heart rather devoted to His dedication and spirituality leads to Christ-empowered feet enabled to "walk, even as He walked" (I John 2:6).

    "My expectation is from Him" (Psalm 62:5).

    Consider the resignation to failure implied in any expectation of unfaithfulness.  Rather than anticipating our faithful Heavenly Father to fulfill His promise to work in us "both to will and to do of His good pleasure," the statement implies our expectation of defeat (Philippians 2:13).  Whose defeat?  Certainly we would suggest our own.  However, implicit in any lack of anticipation by believers to walk in genuine godliness actually implies failure by God.  The believer who resigns himself to low expectations actually says more about his Lord - falsely - than about himself.  Is the Lord Jesus who the Bible declares Him to be?  Does He do what He promises to do?  If we answer yes to those questions, we embrace high expectations of His faithfulness and our Christ-enabled response.  "For by Thee I have run through a troop.  By my God have I leaped over a wall" (II Samuel 22:30).

    As we base our faithfulness on the faithfulness of  our Heavenly Father, we will marvel as He confirms the truth of His Word.  While perfection is not possible in this lifetime, growing consistency can be known by those who place their confidence in a perfectly consistent God.  Any notion of inevitable failure must never be entertained by born again believers in our thoughts and expectations.    The Lord Jesus was tortured to death on the cross of Calvary and smitten by God and man to save us not only from the penalty of sin, but from its power.  Too much was suffered and sacrificed for any believer to dishonor the cross by living as if there had been no resurrection.  There was, and the power that raised our blessed Lord Jesus from the dead now inhabits us to encourage and demand great expectations…

"Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places."

(Ephesians 1:15-20)

Weekly Memory Verse

   Thou wilt show me the path of life.  In Thy presence is fullness of joy.  At Thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore.

(Psalm 16:11)








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