Sometimes we can get very “spiritual” when we are around other Christians at church. We know what other people want to hear and we have the lingo down quite well. Sometimes it pays to simplify things and talk about something instead of “What are you in faith for?” “What are you believing for?” I think a simple and more practical question for many people is “Whaddaya expect?”
Perhaps we could flesh out this question as, “In your mind’s eye, what do you honestly see happening next?” Many times the answer is different from what someone says he is “in faith” for.
Expectation and faith go together. If there is no expectation, there is no real faith at work. There may be mental assent in operation (i.e., “I can tell you what the Bible says about this”) instead of faith (“I have it now and no one can talk me out of it because I know I have it like I know my name”). You are going to get what you EXPECT! This will work either for you or against you.
In Job’s case, it definitely worked against him. Job was preoccupied with worry, and admitted, “That which I greatly feared has come upon me.” Job’s expectation was that some kind of calamity was coming, and he got what he expected. Actually, this expectation gave the devil legal access to him. Some people think that God “sic’ed the devil on Job” for some spiritual reason, but Satan, a nitpicking legalist, did have the right to do certain things because of Job’s lifestyle of fear. Fear gets the devil moving; faith gets God moving.
Many of us can relate to Job. Something happens and we think, “Sure enough, I figured something like this was coming.” But that expectation would have attracted it whereas faith would have repelled it. Ever have things go really well and think, “It’s just a matter of time before some tragedy strikes – things are just too good?” God is NOT interested in “sending” or even “permitting” bad things because you have it so well. In fact, if you have it so well, God wants you to have it even better!
This is NOT to say that you are responsible for every negative thing that happens in your life. The devil will certainly try to make as much trouble for you as he can, and if he can’t get to you directly, he will often use other people around you to try to get to you – even other Christians! However, the wrong expectation will lead to the wrong results in your own life. You can’t control what other people do (and you shouldn’t try!) but you can control a lot of things in your own life. Death and life are in the power of your tongue, so it’s important not to make your mouth into the devil’s mouthpiece. Don’t repeat Satan’s doubt and unbelief – make your lips do the right thing by speaking God’s word even in the face of contrary circumstances. Satan can’t voice negative thoughts into the earth; he needs a person to speak them before they can do any damage. If he can get you to expect the wrong thing, he can get you to say the wrong thing.
In the case of the woman with the issue of blood, it worked FOR her. She had heard about Jesus (and no doubt about the healing anointing He carried) and she touched his clothes expecting to get healed when she did. And lo and behold, she got exactly the results she expected. Jesus told her that her faith had made her well. Actually, he told quite a few people that their faith had made them well. If you have a problem with the idea that a person’s faith can make him well, take it up with Jesus, who was the greatest faith teacher who ever lived! (He should be, since He’s the author and finisher of our faith!)
One opposite to having a faith-filled expectation is the “I’ll try it” syndrome. The devil picks up on this really quickly and will move in to try to make sure you get discouraged and quit before anything can happen. For example, “I’ll try tithing for 3 weeks and see if it works.” That is NOT a positive expectation. “I’ll try this faith stuff and see if I get healed.” You don’t “try” tithing, faith, or anything else in the Bible. I don’t even like those “Try Jesus” bumper stickers. You don’t “try” Him, you submit the entire rest of your life to Him, no strings attached. “Trying” is not faith and it won’t work. “Trying” means that you have no real expectation of the desired outcome. You don’t “try” what the Bible says – you believe what the Bible says, you speak what it says and you act on what it says because it’s all true!