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[Written by Joe Stowell for Our Daily Bread.]

December 26, 2018

"My earnest expectation and hope [is] that . . . Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death." Philippians 1:20

Expectations! We all have them. We expect that people will be nice to us, that we’ll have good health, great marriages, faithful friends, successful careers. But what do we do when life doesn’t live up to our expectations? In Philippians 1, Paul shows us the way. He faced broken expectations of place, people, and the future, yet he remained surprisingly upbeat.

Paul was stuck in prison—not a great place to be! When we get stuck in a tough marriage, an unrewarding job, or a challenging neighborhood, it’s easy to get discouraged. But Paul was wonderfully positive. He said that his suffering helped to advance the gospel (Phil. 1:12).

Maybe people haven’t lived up to our expectations. Paul likely expected other believers to encourage him. Instead, some were actually glad he was in jail and were preaching out of “envy and strife” (Phil. 1:15). Paul’s response? “Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice” (Phil. 1:18).

Maybe it’s an uncertain future—the loss of a spouse, a job transfer, or a health crisis. Paul knew that at any moment Nero might give the order for his execution, yet he declared, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21).

Adopt Paul’s only expectation—for Christ to be honored no matter what!

In all I think and say and do,
I long, O God, to honor You;
But may my highest motive be
To love the Christ who died for me. —D. De Haan

You can expect to enjoy God’s presence when you honor Him with your life.