"'Listen! A sower went out to sow...and other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty fold, sixty fold, and a hundred fold'" (Mark 4:3; 8).
Have you ever felt like a complete failure at whatever it is that you do? Even when you know in your heart that you're not, don't you ever battle discouragement when the goals you had are so far beyond what you actually achieve (if the word 'achieve' can even be used in that particular context!). Sometimes the expectations we are living under are the wrong ones. Perhaps they are expectations we've put on ourselves, or misperceived expectations from another.
In Mark 4, Jesus speaks to this. He told a parable to challenge His listeners, but also to encourage them. The sower went out to sow. His goal was that there would be growth. Jesus never speaks of the expectation that every seed would root, but that the sower would do what he was called to do. And, some would produce grain.
As a Christian, sometimes I can get discouraged that not everyone I reach out to responds positively to Christ. But, I have to realize that He never gave me that expectation or responsibility. I'm responsible for casting out the seed - sowing see - planting seed, but some will reject. But, others will produce. What I have to do is to concentrate on and celebrate the growth.
It's the same in every area of our lives. We have put an expectation of performance perfection on ourselves. Then, we become greatly discouraged when we don't measure up. Yes, Jesus has called us to be "holy and perfected," but that's something we will never achieve on our own. We are to do what we know to do, and celebrate the victories rather than focus on the defeats.
God's greatest expectation on us is not performance, but obedience. Do you love Him? Are you seeking Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength? Are you putting Him first in every area of your life? Are you seeking to honor Him with every decision and choice? These are His expectations.