Core scripture: “The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.” (Proverbs 10:28)
Message: Golf used to be my sport. Way back when. Now that I am a 46-year-old with mild tendonitis and a bad back, my golf is limited to putting and a game on my phone, not to mention a new Netflix series called Full Swing. It is a documentary about the pressures of the PGA Tour.
Episode Two was all about Brooks Koepka. His lavish house in Jupiter, Florida had it all. Swimming pool. Trophy Room. Comfy couches. Electronic gadgets. And then there was his gorgeous fiancé, Jena, showing off her new cute outfits to try to impress him.
Brooks was not impressed.
Why? Why would a man who has this enormous house, two Major trophies, a loving dog, and a stunning fiancé not be content? Because Brooks Koepka still has not won the Masters. It is his nemesis. His expectation is to win at all costs, and that includes getting his coveted green jacket.
The man seems to have everything—but he doesn’t. He has this expectation to win every time, especially the Masters, and when he falls short, he beats himself up. Brooks Koepka will never be happy. He has set himself up for failure with unrealistic expectations. I feel for the guy.
Let’s connect the dots here. What about you? Have you ever had a certain expectation and fallen short of it? Maybe you planned the ultimate lesson that bombed on you. Maybe you expected your students to pass a test, and they failed. Or maybe you are a coach and expect your team to be flawless. There is no such thing!
Teachers must learn contentment. We are not perfect, and we have to be okay with missing the mark. Otherwise we set ourselves up for failure. The enemy will begin to spout off some dangerous lies, and before you know it, you start to believe them.
Here are some lies Satan has been spewing at me recently as my expectations have fallen short …
You will never get control of that class. Man, it is so sad that your students’ grades are as low as they are right now. That is certainly a reflection on your teaching ability. So sad that half your parent conferences didn’t show up a week ago. You are not getting much support from home, so why even try? You are a complete failure at your job.
I could dwell on all those negatives. As competitive as I am, I always strive for perfection. But I have to stop myself. What would Jesus want me to say? How should I respond to those lies that flood my head? The best way to fight off Satan is with his nemesis: the Word of God.
Philippians 4:8 tells me to think about the good. Proverbs 3:5 reminds me to trust in God and not my own understanding. Isaiah 55:8-9 is an awesome reminder that God knows things I just can’t comprehend, and I have to trust His will is working for my good (Romans 8:28).
I have battled depression off and on through my life. The worst of it consumed me for nearly two years back when my boys were just being born. After fighting through it and recovering in the summer of 2012, my life verse found me, and I rededicated myself to the Lord that following year. That scripture talks about being content no matter what …
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13)
Paul knew that secret of contentment. There were times he had it all and times he was lower than a slug in the ground. None of that mattered. What did matter was that he had Jesus as his strength. Once he discovered that undeniable truth, nothing could thwart him.
Jesus is the secret sauce you’re looking for. Not a Masters trophy or a perfect marriage or winning Teacher of the Year. Christ’s strength can push you to discover your own unique excellence, but He can also bring comfort and peace when you miss the mark.
Challenge: When have your expectations disappointed you? Keep your head up! Fight off that feeling of frustration with God’s Word.
Clint speaks: After the Chiefs won the Super Bowl, I decided to pull the trigger on my $50 Amazon gift card from Christmas. Part was spent on a new Super Bowl Champs T-shirt, and the other part was spent on … um … this masterpiece on the link below. I apologize ahead of time that I have not mastered Patrick Mahomes’ voice at all.
Scripture study: Read Acts 16:16-40 and journal or discuss the following questions …
- How would it feel to be treated like Paul and Silas here?
- How did Paul and Silas respond to being thrown in jail?
- What was the outcome of the event in regards to the jailer?
- What lesson can we learn from the way Paul and Silas handled the situation?
Prayer points: Lift up the following areas to the Lord …
- Praise God for Jesus who gives us strength through good times and bad.
- Pray that you will hide God’s Word in your heart to fight off the lies of the enemy.
- Pray that we can all be content no matter what the circumstance.
Just for fun: My oldest son just slept in until 10:00 am this morning. He calls it his “high score.” Translation: he is equating sleeping to video games. Pretty much right on par with normal 6th grade behavior. Me? My “high score” wouldn’t go much past 7:00 am. I like my mornings too much!
Prayer: Lord, thank to for giving us Jesus! He is our ultimate fulfillment. Help us realize that in times of adversity. Amen.
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