Freedom from expectations: Running to be free

I have tried to do it all.

I have tried to do it perfectly.

I have tried to wow the world, or at least just my husband.

And every time I come up short.

Expectations are probably the number one struggle in this life for most of us – our own expectations, expectations placed on us from others, floating cultural expectations, made-up expectations. You name it, someone or something expects it.

The difficult reality is that without belief we will not be able to manage all the expectation. This is Biblical fact. Goodness, it’s hard enough to manage expectation even with the hope of Christ.

Paul lays out this reality for the Galatians in Galatians 3:10-14:

For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

It is so easy to run from belief in order to be free.

Belief to unbelievers often feels too much like expectation – following rules, making commitments, organized nonsense.

There is expectation in life. Yes, it’s a thing. Without belief, these expectations are my doom. The Greek word for curse in Galatians 3:10 is kataran or a curse, doomed one, due to condemnation.

The curse Paul talks about in Galatians says, yes, I will never measure up to any expectation, not a single one.

Galatians 3:11 says:

Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law…

The irony is that in facing the expectations head on, in looking the law in the eye, living in belief of God, instead of closing our eyes to all the expectation and running away to hide in unbelief, if we just open our eyes, we would see the beautiful Truth of redemption:

In Christ, the law looks a lot less like expectation and a lot more like crucifixion.

Christ Jesus came into the world so that we no longer live under this curse. Those expectations? Every single one – whether they are appropriate, inappropriate, or somewhere wonky in the middle – is intended by God to remind us of freedom.

When someone puts an expectation on me, when I see, hear, or feel an expectation rising up within my soul, now, because the curse has been lifted in Christ’s crucifixion, I respond with freedom.

Freedom to live in Christ, to love in Christ, to carry out my vocations and roles honoring others, serving in His name.

Every single expectation is in my freedom.

Cooking dinner for the seventieth night in a row – freedom in Christ! I do it because I like food, and I love my family, not because I have to.

Talking nicely to someone I don’t like – freedom in Christ! My eternity is secured whether I talk nice or not, but life is better when I do.

Giving time or money – Freedom in Christ! I could keep it all, spend it all, or Ebenezer it all, but something in my heart just won’t, because God gave me people and people matter more.

It’s not perfect. I’m not perfect. Freedom doesn’t look perfect, but it doesn’t cease being freedom. I have it, whether I use it or not, feel it or not.

Today I am praying for that Spirit of Faith and Freedom in you.

…so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

Let the Holy Spirit well up. Write it on your wrist, your hand, or wherever you can see it as a reminder. Every time you feel the weight of expectation, of “not enough,” say it out loud:

Freedom in Christ!

And then go about your business. Do what needs to be done in your home, your family, at school, at work, at church, in life, but knowing that curses are for unbelief, expectations are the law- pointing us straight to our freedom in Christ.

He lives! And so I do to. I live in belief, and truth in love, because that’s Him in me, that’s real freedom.

Spirit, speak freedom into our lives. May expectation only point us to Him, every time, to live free and full, and abundantly, eyes wide open, in love, in care, in giving…

Freedom in Christ!

 

Discussion questions:

What expectations get to you – at home, at work, in friendship and relationships, at church, as a citizen, anywhere?

How does freedom through Christ Jesus change expectations for the believer?

How can we help one another live in freedom in our vocations and roles, while being faithful to the Word of Truth?

 

When ministry becomes more important…avoiding the sin of church work.

Predestined > Called > Justified > Glorified
Predestined: We are predestined children of God. Everyday in every circumstance we can rest in being knit together by Him in our mother’s womb. We can remember that we are precious children of a loving Father. We remember that we are baptized children of God, this is our identity and no person, no hassle, no life challenge can change this. Rest in this, “I am a child of God.”
Called: Few people understand the value of calling more than church workers and their families. We place a very high value on the calls of our life. So perhaps we can understand the richness of the call on the life of every believer so much more. Our call to be His child, to follow Him in complete freedom, to receive as a free gift the indwelling of our Lord and Savior- this is a thing worth far more than anything else in life.
Because we are called, as believers, we are justified, we are glorified. Problems come in though, when as church workers, we confuse our call (serving as pastor, deaconess, DCE, etc.) with this Call. The argument could be made that they are all wrapped up and bound together so tightly, by God himself, making it impossible to see them as different things. So, let’s reflect on something tangible that happens when we elevate our call and place it with our Call.

It is easy for our calls to become our life.

The work that is done for the kingdom in our churches and in our communities is so important, so valuable, that we can easily elevate it above our families, above our wives and our children, above our relationships and people that God has entrusted to us. And the results are heartbreaking. The kingdom work of our home is simply as valuable, if not more valuable than the kingdom work of our churches. In our homes we pass on Christ to the next generation. In our homes we create a model of Christ’s love and care for His bride. When we neglect our homes, we become just like everyone else. People miss in us that we are different- predestined, called, justified, and glorified. We stand out, our baptismal identity stands out and witnesses to the Savior, when we minister to those closest to us and treasure our vocation as husband, wife, father, mother, daughter, son.

Confess to Christ the areas in your life where you have confused or neglected your calling, rest in His complete forgiveness and grace. No matter our work, He is faithful. We are predestined, called, justified, and glorified through Him.


Enjoying the vocation of mama 🙂


The testimony of the Spirit as I sweep the floor…

 Many of you have seen the marriage triangle, or even have taught it before.
It shows three people in a marriage, instead of simply two: God, husband and wife.
It seems like a pretty basic concept, but remains abstract in our minds. We understand that God is there in our marriage, but how does one flesh play out in life together? This verse can help us understand this a bit more. In the verse above we see a picture of the Spirit bearing witness, testifying to Christ and what He has done, who He is, within and with our spirit. What is this mingling of spirits, how does it work? We don’t have the answer to that. It’s a mystery of Christ. But it is also Biblical truth. We know from His promises that the Spirit lives in us, it intercedes for us, it sustains belief in the One True God. This is the Spirits testimony. And the Spirit testifies not just in difficult times, but every day in our lives. The Spirit holds us up daily.
In the same way, the husband and wife support and testify of God’s work in and through them to one another. The Spirit is also alive and well in the marriage relationship. The Spirit bears witness in you to your spouse of God’s great work, His love, His forgiveness, and His mercy. The Spirit wells up in us, testifying to the wife that she is beautiful and loved. The Spirit wells up in us, testifying to the husband that he is honored and respected. This plays out in our words and our actions. We wash the dishes and sweep the floor, not because it’s our favorite pastime, but because it shows honor and care for our husband’s work and provision. We tell our wives they are loved; we offer a hug, time and affection when we feel like we have none, because it is the testimony of the Spirit in us that they are loved children of God. The abstract idea of the Spirit mingling and coexisting in our hearts and minds and marriages, becomes concrete in life together.
Father, You are at work in our lives and in our marriages. You testify of your miraculous work of salvation and forgiveness, given through Your Son. We thank and praise You for Your life giving Spirit, who bears witness in our hearts that You are the One True God. Through You there is mercy and we can give mercy to others. Lead us, O Lord. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.