Gospel Message & Recording
Philip was called by Jesus Christ to be his disciple. His response was positive; he was willing to follow Christ. But he wanted his friend Nathanael to join him in this newfound adventure as well. When Philip found Nathanael and told him that he had found the Messiah (the person the Jewish people had been waiting for) he was not so eager to follow Jesus. Instead, he said, “What good can come out of Nazareth?” There seems to be a great deal of speculation in Nathanael’s mind concerning Jesus. Further, he didn’t seem too intrigued with idea that the Messiah hailed from the area of Nazareth.
Nazareth was a town, located in Judeo-Palestine that was considered below average in terms of stature and recognition. It was, as we would say in our time, a “no-name town.” And those who came from such a town were not expected to go very far in life. Society had low expectations about people from Nazareth. We could say that there was a sort of prejudice toward Nazarenes. This prejudice was applied to Jesus.
However unfair the prejudices were, they were hard to shake off. In other words, you had to “make it big,” in order to shake off such a reputation. And that was exactly was Jesus Christ was going to do! He didn’t let the expectation of others in his culture, religion or community define his destiny. Despite his place of birth, he was going to make it big. So big that he became the most influential person that ever lived.
We might be in the same place as Jesus. People may have low expectations of us. Or people might not give us the credit we deserve because of our upbringing, place of birth, or life circumstances that occurred in the past. But we are not to look at other people and give credence to their expectations; but rather, look to Christ and see what he has to say.
Christ says to us today that no matter where we are and what we have done, he has not abandoned us, nor forsaken us. “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” says the Lord. Even though others might say, “Nothing good can come from us.” We should remember that we are created for a purpose and God will use us if we would shut-off the negative voices and turn-on the voice of God.
So how do we go beyond the expectations of others and work to reach our highest potential in life?
Listen to God’s Word: The Bible is the “rule-book” for our lives. Reading it consistently allows us to “listen” to the Holy Spirit. There are valuable “keys” that open the “doors” of insight in times of indecision and trial. This includes reading biographies of people who have been “successful” in certain areas of life. For example, biographies of saints give us awareness that it is “humanly” possible to live a life of grace and fight temptation victoriously.
Work Hard: When a person works hard, they put as much effort as possible to accomplishing a goal. Regardless of what we are trying to accomplish we have to work hard, and sometimes, harder than others. If we want to improve our relationship with God, we have to work hard by praying and fasting. It doesn’t come easy! If we want to live up to the plans God has in store for us, it means we have to work hard to make our marriage, job, ministry, and spiritual life succeed.
Focus on what you want to do: Others may have low expectations of you. Or you may have taken a track in regard to your career or life goals that don’t match your family’s expectation. Whatever the case may be—the point is you have not followed the norm. Therefore, if such is your case, “focus like a laser beam” on what you want to do and accomplish it.
Don’t look at others: As you are in the process of accomplishing your goals, others will have similar goals, and they will get there before you. But do not look at them and compare. Focus on what you are doing. When we look at others and worry, we will get jealous, hindering us from reaching our goal.
Be different: This doesn’t mean if someone likes the color black we should like white. Being different means not following the crowd. It means having a distinguishing mark that make us stand out in a crowd of similarities. Everyone is different, or rather unique, because God has not created everyone exactly the same. Therefore, it should be an effort on our part to be unique. Our uniqueness will help us to more successful in life.