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Daily Devotional Acts 20:13–38

One Friday afternoon, as I drove home from work, I was already feeling frustrated. I had expectations for our Saturday that I knew would not be realized. Yet in that moment, the Spirit prompted me to “adjust my expectations,” to set aside my to-do list and make it my goal to love well.

I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me.

ACTS 20:24

Expectations are a natural part of life. It is easy to get frustrated when reality does not measure up. Acts 20 records the story of Paul and his companions, meeting with the elders of Ephesus for the final time. After an extended trip from Troas, by ship and on foot (vv. 13–16), Paul finally arrived in Miletus. He avoided going to Ephesus himself, perhaps to save time or to ensure his own safety. So he sent for the elders of the Ephesian church and spoke frankly.

Paul began by reminding them of his own testimony—how he “served the Lord with great humility” in their presence (v. 19). He boldly preached the gospel, even though he faced severe testing from the Jews. He preached and taught and called everyone (Jews and Greeks) to repentance and faith (v. 21).

Paul also let the elders know that he was now heading to Jerusalem, “not knowing what [would] happen to [him] there” (v. 22). He expected “prison and hardships” because the Holy Spirit had warned him of such (v. 23). Yet—despite this reality—his singular goal was to preach the gospel of grace (v. 24).

Finally, Paul called them to adjust their expectations. They, too, would encounter hardship (vv. 29–30), so Paul called them to stay on guard. Keep watch over the church, knowing that their reward would be eternal (v. 32). We demonstrate our love for God when we adjust our expectations to align with His will, rather than hanging tenaciously onto our own.

Go Deeper

When have your expectations not aligned with reality? How does our focus change if we expect hard- ships and make obedience and love our goal?

Pray with Us:

Father, we praise You! We thank You that we can depend on You in everything and trust You with our lives. Our prayer today is that indeed we’ll adjust our expectations to Your will.

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