John 10:10 says Jesus "came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)" (AMP). God has good plans for us, and He wants us to be filled with hope for the abundant life He wants to give us. Yet a lot of believers are trying to have faith when they're feeling hopeless. But Jesus didn't die so His people could live depressed, hopeless lives. He wants us to live with the happy, confident expectation of the good things He will do in us and through us.
So what are you expecting? Maybe you're expecting nothing – so you get nothing. Or you expect a little bit so you only get a little bit. I always say I'd rather believe for a whole lot and get half of it than believe for a little and get all of it.
The truth is, it doesn't cost any more to believe for something big than it does to believe for something small. If we expect God to do something great, we'll see Him move in a mighty way. Because expectation has a lot to do with faith and believing Him to fulfill what He's promised: Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. (Luke 6:38 NLT)
The Enemy's "Never" Lies
The enemy wants you to believe what you have now is what you will always have – especially if what you have now is bad or difficult. So he tries to inject "never" lies into our thoughts. Thoughts like, I'll never get ahead…Things will never change…This person will never change… He wants you to believe your circumstances will never change. And if you have something good going on in your life, he wants you to believe it won't last.
But the Bible says God has a good future planned for us (see Jeremiah 29:11). All things are possible with God (see Matthew 19:26) and He can change every situation. In fact, He is the only thing that doesn't change. Malachi 3:6 says, "For I am the Lord, I do not change…" (AMP). He is the same yesterday, today and forever – and He is good!
Becoming a Prisoner of Hope
Many of us have a tendency to focus on the negative side of our circumstances. But we can change that attitude, because in Christ, nothing is ever hopeless. And hope is about joyfully looking forward to change for the better, refusing to give up.
Zechariah 9:12 says, "Return to the stronghold [of security and prosperity], you prisoners of hope; even today do I declare that I will restore double your former prosperity to you" (AMP).
A prisoner of hope is someone who can't get away from being hopeful, regardless of their outward circumstances. If you refuse to stop hoping, God promises to give you double for your trouble. Learn to lean on that promise!
I made my mind up a few years ago to be a prisoner of hope. I had wasted enough of my life being negative, critical and disappointed. The key to this change was deciding to be positive by focusing on God and His Word. See, rather than talk about what the enemy is doing, we can say instead what God is able to do!
Waiting Patiently for God's Call
Maybe you are waiting on God to use you in some way. He has given each of us unique gifts and talents to use to fulfill His plans for our lives. But sometimes God asks us to wait. It's possible He has to do something in you before He can do something through you.
For example, if you have a great singing voice, it doesn't mean you need to go to a new church and insist you have to be part of the worship team. God may not have sent you there to exercise your gift on week one. He may want you to sit quietly or do something else while He works on your attitude. Maybe you need to get rid of some pride or a performance mentality. If so, He will ask you to lay it aside, and when you're ready, He will let you pick it up again. You'll find that what you give to God, He'll give back to you many times over when you submit to His will and timing.
Many of the great patriarchs of the Bible had to wait on God to prepare them for the work He was calling them to do. Joseph spent 13 years in prison for something he didn't do before God called him out. Moses spent 40 years in the desert while God finished a work in him. Even though He was perfect, Jesus had to grow "in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man" for 30 years before He was ready to carry out His Father's call (Luke 2:52 KJV).
Learning to Wait in Joy
Waiting on God is not a passive state of doing nothing. It is a spiritually active state of expecting something good and enjoying your life in the meantime. Paul writes in Philippians 4:11, "…For I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am" (AMP). In other words, it's not our circumstances that determine our joy, but our attitude toward them. Change your attitude and you will be a lot happier while you're waiting.
The Bible says to wait is to be full of expectancy and hope (see Romans 8:23). You're praying and thanking God already for what you know is on its way. Even though you don't see it or feel it, you know He's changing things in your life.
Your number one job as a believer is to believe. Stay positive. Expect. Remain hopeful – no matter what – and God will bring the changes you need at exactly the right moment.
© 2015 Printed with permission of Joyce Meyer Ministries