In the book “Relentless Solution Focus,” written by authors Dr. Jason Selk and Dr. Ellen Reed, they speak of expectancy theory. They define expectancy theory as, that which you focus on expands.
Our thoughts control our feelings. Our feelings control our behaviors. Our behaviors dictate the course and direction of our life.
Expectancy theory essentially says what we think about the most, will happen, and continue to happen. If we manage our thoughts to think positively and focus on good things, good things happen. If we focus on negativity and are constantly downtrodden, negative events and happenings will occur in our lives. Think about this for a few minutes. No matter our circumstances, no matter how horrible things can be, our thoughts will ultimately control our actions and the events in our lives. Perhaps this sounds simple, but I think we can agree it is quite difficult to see in the moment.
Paul writes to the Galatians encouraging them and rebuking them for their transgressions. In chapter 5, Paul speaks of “walking in the spirit,” and explains in verse 17 that “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”
The “flesh,” is our mind leading to the actions of our bodies.
Paul goes on to exclaim the “works of the flesh,” which are “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like.”
Paul made it clear what the sins of the “flesh” are. If we spend time on our phones, tv’s, social circles, and free time surrounding ourselves with temptations, then what do we think will happen? If we continue to surround ourselves with negative friends and family, who are a poor influence on us, then what do we think will occur?
Paul went on in verse 22 and explained “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” Do you feel like these words describe you? Do the people you surround yourself with emulate these types of behaviors and descriptions?
For me, I work hard to prevent myself from situations that will tempt my “flesh.” I fail often and I am a work in progress, but the more temptation or bad situations I place myself in, the more chance I have to make a bad decision. If I surround myself with un-godly people or influences, the greater risk I put myself in to make a poor choice.
I think living out our faith in Jesus Christ has relation to expectancy theory. The more we study the Gospel, the more we regularly attend a great Bible-based church, the more we socialize with God-fearing people, the better we can manage the challenges of our thoughts that will ultimately impact our outcome of our lives.
My prayer is that from reading Galatians 5 today, you take charge of your thoughts, and your attitude, and the influences in your life to strengthen your relationship with Christ. Reduce your temptations because we are physiologically susceptible to give into them. The more we study, the more we learn, the better our relationship will be with Christ.