Why Christians should expect big things

“Be brave, and be expectant.”

This is what one of the dads at our church said to his youngest daughter as she went off for her induction day at secondary school. She starts in September, and it’s a big move.

“Be brave, and be expectant.”

That first part about bravery, you sort of expect from a dad – the second bit is perhaps a little bit less common. He didn’t want his daughter just to go through the motions of school and hope to come out the other end in one piece. She should go in with an attitude of expectancy. Go for it! Expect big things! This can be amazing!

10 points if you can work out why I used this picture.
10 points if you can work out why I used this picture.

Dreaming dreams

For the first time since I was living at home with my parents, I know where I’ll be for the foreseeable future. Mel and I are staying in the village where we live for at least the next 6-7 years as I become a pastor at our church. That’s exciting and refreshing for us. But I want to be brave, and be expectant.

I’ve made a list (I like lists). It’s a list of 35 things I want to achieve or do in that time before we potentially move – 25 things in my personal life and 10 things in my ‘ministry’ life. (I thought about posting the list up here, but since some of the things on it depend on others allowing or asking me to do things, I didn’t want to accidentally put pressure on anyone.) When I read through the list, I am pretty excited. A bit daunted, but excited.

Some of it is pretty mundane, but some of it is certainly not. But I’m expecting and hoping for it anyway.

“Be brave, and be expectant.”

I want to expect big things. I want to dream big dreams and then run after them. I don’t want to settle.

God is able!

But this isn’t just some fanciful idea of mine. This isn’t about me blowing my own horn and saying “This is what I want to do, and I can do all of it because I’m so awesome!”

I preached a couple of weeks ago on the closing words from Jude’s letter in the New Testament (you can listen here if you want). He says this:

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. (Jude 24-25)

Jude was writing to a bunch of Christians in difficulty. The difficulty was that there were a number of false teachers in their midst who were going to lead them astray if they weren’t careful. For a fledgling Christian community without easy access to the reliability of the Apostles, this was very dangerous. They could end up completely off the rails.

Jude gives advice about how to protect themselves, but ultimately he ends reminding them that God is able to keep them from stumbling. God is able. He can do it, so trust Him.

“Be brave, and be expectant.”

This is about false teachers, but it’s true for anything. God is able. All through the Bible, we see God’s people proclaiming that their God is able to bring victory, to protect, to change things, to break through in history. And all through the Bible, we see that God is able and that God does do those things. God is able.

Because God can, we do

And because we have a God who is able to – in Paul’s words – “do immeasurably more than we can ever ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20), we are given license to expect great things. He can do them, and we should look to Him to do so.

Walking on water“Be brave, and be expectant.”

And more than just expecting God to do big things, we should expect and seek Him to use us for them. Not because we are able, but because He is and He’s made very clear that He wants to work through His people. Peter walked on water not because He could, but because Jesus could, and yet Peter was the one that actually did it.

Of course when he started to focus on the wind and waves and realise he couldn’t do this, he started to drown. We have to keep fixed on Jesus, but Jesus calls us to do big things. Because He can do big things.

God is able. Because He is, we can do stuff. And we should seek and expect some of that stuff to be important, significant and big.

Ultimately, if God can do more than all we ask or imagine, let’s ask for more. And let’s imagine more.

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