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Changing My Expectations of God

He presented another parable to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It’s the smallest of all the seeds, but when grown, it’s taller than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the sky come and nest in its branches.” MATTHEW 13:31-32 CSB

We often look for God where we think he should be, not where he actually is

God is working in what appears to be insignificant

Now when John heard in prison what the Christ was doing, he sent a message through his disciples and asked him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” MATTHEW 11:2-3 CSB

God is working in what appears to be too small to notice

When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” GENESIS 28:16 CSB

At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God LUKE 2:25-28 NLT

Where in your life are you missing God because it appears too small?

God is working when it appears that I am defeated

He said to them, “I am deeply grieved to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake with me.” Going a little farther, he fell facedown and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” MATTHEW 26:38-39 CSB

Like you and I, Jesus knows what it’s like to have a prayer request denied

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices shouting in heaven: “The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.” REVELATION 11:15 NLT

How to shift my expectations

  • Confess the expectations you’ve placed on God
  • Release your expected outcomes
  • Identify the parts of your life that appear insignificant, small, and defeated and meet God there

My Notes

Personal Reflection Guide

Take a few minutes to slow down, setting aside the events of the day. As you do, invite God into this time, asking him to help you be real with yourself, him and others. Are there any areas of your life where you feel defeated? Bring this before God, asking him to reveal where he is at work in that place. It’s ok to ask him to grow your faith that he is indeed working, even when it may be difficult to see. Next, ask God to reveal any other areas in your life where he is working but where you may be unaware. Write these down in the space below, thanking God for being at work, and asking him for eyes to see, in increasing measure, those places where he is faithfully at work in your life. End the time with a prayer of surrender, perhaps confessing any false expectations you’ve placed on God. Thank him for your time together, sharing with the group what the experience was like, if you feel comfortable.

Discussion Questions

  1. PERSONAL REFLECTION: Begin group time engaging with the Personal Reflection Guide. As you explore your own journey with God’s love for you, journal any reflections in the space below, sharing with the group what God brought up, if you feel comfortable.
  2. REAL WITH SELF: Share about a time when you expected God to work in a certain way and he did something else. Perhaps it was a time when you did something small but it had a significant impact on others? Maybe it was a time where God brought good out of a bad situation? What did you learn from this situation?
  3. REAL WITH GOD: Read Genesis 28:16. Where might you be unaware of God's presence and work? How can you be more aware of what God is doing?
  4. REAL WITH GOD: What would it look like to fully trust God, even in the areas of your life where clarity is lacking?
  5. REAL WITH OTHERS: What expected outcomes do you need to release? Where have you attached your identity, worth or value to an expectation instead of to Jesus?
  6. TAKE ACTION: What would it look like to embrace “mustard seed living”? How could that affect your prayer life, spiritual life, relationships, etc? What steps can you take this week to be more intentional about the little things?