“Your life is worth the stretch (extra effort). Things worth having are worth giving the Extra Effort for…” That’s called…
Living Beyond Expectations
(previously titled “How to Live When Others Are Expecting You To Die”, extracted from the book “Principles of Christian Living” – by Derek E. Eurales, Jr.)
2 Corinthians 4:8-15
8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death is working in us, but life in you. 13 And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, 14 knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.
We can live Beyond Expectations by four ways:
1: The Extra Effort
Your life is worth the stretch (extra effort). Things worth having are worth giving the Extra Effort for. Your very life, with all your personal victories, miraculous occurrences, and even your achievements are witness to the power of the extra effort necessary to live beyond expectations.
Your life matters to God, even if for the single reason that there are people (lost souls) we encounter every day who hunger and thirst for a spiritual awakening and don’t even know it. Matthew 5:6 says, “6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.”
One way you can tell that the people around you are hungry for an awakening is when you are in the presence of some people and the conversation changes. Their speech becomes nicer. They may or may not know who you are in Christ, but they know something is different about you. (Their conscience tells them) Whether they know what to call it or not, they respect the anointing of God on your life enough to want to come up to your level, because they see you Living Beyond Expectations.
The Holy Spirit appeals to the conscience of unsaved people through His initial call to come to the Lord. (John 16:8-10) If you’re reading this today and you’re not saved, just know that your life matters to God and today presents an opportunity for you to receive Christ into your life. If you already know HIM, you now have an opportunity to make a positive step toward a closer walk with God. That is primarily what my writing is all about: providing answers to help one obtain the freedom in life God intended. I hope you will see that as you read.
2: Facing the Wall (King Hezekiah’s way – a type and shadow of consecration. In fact, if you study Hezekiah’s story you’ll find that Hezekiah was all about living a life of consecration.)
In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live.’ ” 2 Then he turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the Lord, saying, 3 “Remember now, O Lord, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what was good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
[Interpreters indicate that Hezekiah was not just concerned for himself. With the Assyrians breathing down their necks, ready to pounce at the First Opportunity, theologians suggest that Hezekiah’s death at that point would have likely changed the course of history for the Jewish people in such a way that the people may have missed what God was doing. While the news of one’s impending demise is cause for pause, the knowledge of the residual effects of that death can send a person down a winding road of despair. When you die, you leave others behind who may or may not have been prepared for your departure. But you have prophecy over your life. You MUST LIVE and not die. That’s Living Beyond Expectations.]
4 And it happened, before Isaiah had gone out into the middle court, that the word of the Lord came to him, saying, 5 “Return and tell Hezekiah the leader of My people, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely [the King James Version uses the word “behold” here, which in scripture points to something miraculous – Beyond Expectations – to follow] I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord. 6 And I will add to your days fifteen years. I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for My own sake, and for the sake of My servant David. (2 Kings 20:1-6)
[If ever there were a season for a Quick Turnaround on answered prayers, this is it. But there is a condition: IF you are walking in truth and with a loyal heart toward God, and IF you are doing what is right.]
2 Kings 18:5 says, “5 He trusted in the Lord God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor who were before him.”
Hezekiah was 25 years old when he began to reign in Judah, a nation plagued by its own decisions to follow the ways of a corrupt society. During his 29-year reign, he did right in the sight of the Lord. He did a house cleaning. And just when things seemed to be going well, Hezekiah received a death notice. I can only imagine what my thought process would be if I received the news that my life on the Earth would end soon. But I believe Hezekiah was determined to live Beyond Expectations!
Notice in 2 Kings 20:2 that upon receiving news that he would soon die, Hezekiah didn’t take the time to argue with Isaiah. He went directly to the wall. There are some things involved with turning your face to the wall:
(a) You’re not focusing on what people say (The “they say” syndrome). We sometimes worry too much about “they say”. Who is “they say” anyway? Let’s be real. If you have a terminal illness, people are expecting you to die. But you don’t have to die. God is ABLE to heal you. If you are going through any kind of sickness, my advice for you is to find every scripture in your Bible that covers healing, health, and wholeness. Then, along with conventional wisdom and advice from your physician, confess the Word over your life continually. The Bible tells us prophetically in Isaiah 53:4-5 that Christ has already borne our sickness and pain. Jesus Himself took on the punishment we deserved because of our inherent connection to Adam and Eve and because He took our punishment, we don’t have to live in fear, we don’t have to live in terror, we don’t have to live in oppression, we don’t have to live in depression, we don’t have to live in a state of lack, or in want, but we can live… Beyond Expectations!
(b) You’re not concerned about tripping over anything because you’ve got your face to the wall. Your posture when dealing with problems will determine the impact they have on you. Keeping a posture of prayer will help you for those times when you receive bad news. Keeping a posture of seeking God will help keep you sane. Reference Isaiah 26:3, where these words are found: 3 You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. Perhaps King Hezekiah was appropriating the principle of this very statement when he went to face the wall.
(c) You’re looking away from your problems and looking unto Jesus… the author and finisher of our faith. Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Now I know my statements about healing may seem hard to some, or even somewhat controversial. I just choose to believe the Word of God. I believe in Living Beyond Expectations. I believe God wants the best for me. Therefore, if prosperity is available to me, I want it. If success is available to me, I want it. If a great career is available to me, I want it. If a peaceful home is available to me, I want it. If healing is available for me, I want it. Whatever God has for me, I want it!
3: Prayer that Gets Results
Philippians 4:6 says, “6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;”
James 5:16 says, “16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
We often leave prayer out in our initial stages of dealing with our problems. One reason is that many of us have a selfish desire to remain in control and solve our own problems. Despite our attempts to remain self-sufficient in every aspect of our lives, prayer is vitally important because it connects us with Almighty God. The sincere prayers of a person with a right relationship with God mean a lot to God. We find in 2 Kings 20:6 that God added 15 more years to Hezekiah’s life because of his persistence in prayer. That’s Living Beyond Expectations!
4: The Willingness to Persevere
Look at Mark 5:25-34.
25 Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, 26 and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. 28 For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” 29 Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?” 31 But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, Who touched Me?’ ” 32 And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. 33 But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. 34 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”
In Mark 5:25-34, there was a woman with an issue of blood for 12 years. Jesus was on His way to heal Jairus’ 12-year-old daughter. But, on the way he encountered a crowd of people and this woman who had been bleeding as long as the little girl had been living. She had problems. No money-No man. Yet in spite of what she did not have, she pressed and got her blessing. That’s Living Beyond Expectations!
Look at 1 Corinthians 4:8-15.
8 You are already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings without us–and indeed I could wish you did reign, that we also might reign with you! 9 For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored! 11 To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. 12 And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; 13 being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now. 14 I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you. 15 For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
In 1 Corinthians 4:8-15, the apostle Paul talked about the trials they faced in ministry and the rewards and benefits they had and were looking forward to. So, how do we live when others are expecting us to die? We just have to make a decision to trust God. That’s Living Beyond Expectations!
While you’re reading this, you may or may not be facing a trial that you don’t have the answer to. Pray this prayer: “Lord…I come to you asking that you help me to face the wall when I don’t understand, and give me the assurance that in You everything will be alright. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.” God is waiting for you to give whatever problems you have to Him. He will not leave you or fail you. If you have not received the saving grace of Christ for yourself, I encourage you to read Romans 10:9-10 and accept Jesus today. Do it now!
8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
To leave no room for confusion, this is what I recommend you do: Give that situation you’re dealing with to the Lord. Trust Him with it, and I believe you will sleep better tonight.
Finally, be encouraged by the words of Proverbs 3:5-6.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
May God Bless You throughout your week!
Author, speaker, musician DEREK E. EURALES, Jr., loves to share his faith, motivation, and music. His book, Principles of Christian Living, has become a “must read” for believers of all ages. To order your copy, click here.