This past week we welcomed JD Meeter from Water Mission in Charleston. JD began the message by talking about how our expectations can change the way we perceive things and then when met with temptation we are caught off guard because we weren’t expecting this dangerous scenario since we believe in God.
JD opened the message with Matthew 4:1-11, which states how Jesus was led by the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. This comes right after God says in Matthew 3:17 that Jesus is his beloved son who is is well pleased, and yet right after stating how proud God is of his son he sends him into the wilderness to be tempted multiple times by Satan. In this passage, Jesus is tempted in 3 ways, physically, through self doubt, and then tempted with power. All 3 of these temptations are things that we see in our lives everyday, and based on if we are prepared for the temptation either helps deliver us away from evil or towards evil.
JD mentioned how sometimes a false expectation can lead us to a dangerous scenario. This is because we are not prepared to handle what is coming next by ourselves, and without God by our side and with a false reality, we can be led straight into a harmful situation. Our expectations change the way we view reality, and if our expectations of the gospel are solely based off of the type of gospel we are being sold, then it will be very difficult to form that relationship with God and trust him through everything. For example, if you are being told that the gospel says that a good christian needs to be good and never sin, then you have a false reality of what the gospel is actually saying and then you are more likely to leave the church because you feel like a bad christian, where in reality you just need to learn more about what the gospel entails.
So now that we realize that Jesus was also tempted with the same types of things that we are tempted with today, how many times to we try to do something about it? How many times do you ask Jesus to make you more like him? If we are tempted with something, yet have Jesus with us, then we are able to overcome that temptation and suffering just like Jesus did. However, sometimes we may be tempted in a way that makes us uncomfortable because Jesus is trying to use us in a certain way. In Acts 7:54-60, a guy named Stephen was tempted with the option to deny God or embrace him as his savior and potentially suffer the consequences. Stephen decided to stand up for God and who he believed to be the only God, and was then stoned in exchange. This suffering that Stephen endured helped lead Paul into ministry and double the church. In this passage, we see that Jesus stands up when he sees Stephen being stoned for standing up for the Lord. Jesus standing up for Stephen demonstrates that Stephen’s suffering will not go unnoticed and that Stephen means something to the Lord. In this passage, Stephen’s suffering led to the beginning of the development of the church. With that being said, Jesus may call you out of your comfort zone and into a period of suffering, but the Lord has proven to be faithful and he won’t use this suffering to add a few people to his kingdom, but rather use it to multiply his kingdom.
At the end of the day we have ask ourselves, “Is Jesus worth it?” Is he worth all the hardships to come or giving up worldly things or is he even worth our life? So with all of these questions, we need to change what our expectations are of Jesus because he is good and faithful, but he can also bring danger and suffering.