Have you ever had one of those days where things are going great and then suddenly take a turn for the worse? I sort of had one of those yesterday. I had been working on a plan for quite some time to lower the ridiculous amount of money we were paying for health insurance premiums. The final key was to make some adjustments to our monthly income and then after a lengthy conversation with an insurance specialist yesterday morning, we were finally able to come up with a solution that enabled us to keep our current plan with a greatly reduced monthly expense!
Needless to say I was very happy with the outcome of my efforts and found myself wearing a big smile for most of the day… until about thirty minutes into our dinner. As I was biting into a delicious Rainer Cherry one of my back teeth suddenly split in half! I was a little stunned at what happened but was relieved that there was no pain. But after a few moments of quietly sitting there, I began to have to fight off some sarcastic thoughts like: “Now what?” and “What’s next?”
It was like everything I was not particularly happy about over the last six years came flooding into my mind. I was reminded of all the fun things I miss and would love to be doing with my wife during this time of our lives and can’t because of her health needs. It had all the makings of a big pity party!
But suddenly in the midst of all those complaining thoughts, I began to see all the time Piper and I have spent in the Word of God. Those twice daily confessions at her bedside that begin and end our days together, the countless books we have and are currently reading outlining God’s miraculous power to heal and turn the world’s impossibilities into His possibilities for us, and the many times He has quietly spoken to my heart to confirm His unfailing LOVE for Piper and I.
All of a sudden those negative reasonings did not seem to hold much power or influence over me. The intimate knowledge of His LOVE that we have repeatedly experienced began to flow and the complaining was silenced while joyful praise began to flow from my lips and His peace took its place!
That incident reminded me of Paul’s words to the Colossians and Ephesians that I’ve been studying all week. He initiates the main subject of chapter two in Colossians declaring: “Because they (the Christians he was writing to – including you and me) are united in LOVE, I work so that they may be encouraged…” (God’s Word ©) It would seem that the people’s Agape LOVE for God, themselves and each other motivated Paul to work diligently to encourage or increase their EXPECTATIONS of God’s best for them.
Then, as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, a few verses later he directed them to “Sink your roots in him, and build on him.” (Colossians 2:7 God’s Word ©) He goes a little deeper in explanation of this instruction in his similar letter written to the Ephesians (which most scholars agree that he wrote at the same time as many of the verses are almost identical) explaining “that (His) LOVE may be the ground which you sink your roots and have your foundation” and that “you will know Christ’s LOVE, which goes FAR beyond any (natural) knowledge.” (Ephesians 3:17 & 19 God’s Word ©)
So again we see him pointing out that our personal, intimate, experiential knowledge (which is defined by the use of the Greek word translated “know” in verse 19) of Papa God’s LOVE is that which acts as the springboard into or our foundation of Christian maturity and the ever increasing EXPECTATIONS of His best, of His LOVE and of His Word working in, for and through us!
And that points us all back to Jesus’ reply to the question He answered concerning what the greatest of Moses’ teaching was. Without any hesitation Jesus declared: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:36-39 God’s Word ©)
So, just like almost everything else in the Bible, our EXPECTATIONS are based on our personal, intimate, experiential knowledge of God’s LOVE for Him, for us and then for others. Sounds pretty simple to me, doesn’t it? God’s Agape LOVE is the foundation, the guide and the power behind our EXPECTATIONS of God’s best. If you don’t really know how much He LOVES you then your EXPECTATIONS will always fall short of what He can and is willing to do for you, no matter what everything or everyone around you might say that is contrary to His Word!
Have a great day. Stay in tune to His Word and keep asking yourself… “What or Who’s LOVE am I EXPECTING to increase in my intimate experiential knowledge of today?”