Going to church with “expectation”

Have you ever heard people say that they don’t get anything out of church, or that while others receive something from God they don’t?  There are many different reasons why people go to church.  Some go because that is what they’ve always done, having been raised in church all their life.  Others go because they view it as a social gathering, a place where they can meet with friends and chat and have fun.  Others go because they are being dragged there, either by a spouse, a parent, a friend, a co-worker, or someone else.  And even then, there are some who go only out of a sense of duty and obligation.  Why do you go to church?  Or, are you going to church?

I’m not going to get into why Christians need to go to church, much less why they need to be faithful and plugged into a local church, but I really want to focus on our attitude about going.  Like I said, there are many who go for all the wrong reasons, and no wonder why they don’t receive from God what He has for them.  What’s worse is that the respect and reverence for the house of God just is not there anymore, for the most part that is.  Yes, I do know that our bodies are the temple of God for those of us who are in relationship with His son, Jesus, but I’m talking about those places that have been set aside as a place where His followers come together corporately.  The house of God has become a location for social gatherings and connection, not that there is anything necessarily wrong with that, but all to often it is at the expense of God, Himself.  While it can be argued we’ve lost the respect and reverence for these places that we should have, and I will agree with that, what is more disheartening is that we’ve lost respect and reverence for God.  It’s a shame that more often than not, people, especially the younger generations, have more respect for their employers, their teachers, their friends and family, and even their hobbies and recreation, than they do the Creator of the ends of the universe, God almighty.  We can sit and pay attention to a teacher giving us a lecture or instructions on something, an employer conducting some training, a politician or some hollywood celebrity, or even a ‘respected’ athlete, but we can’t give even the same respect for God who created everything and everyone.  It isn’t an issue of having respect and reverence for the house of God, it’s more an issue of showing our respect and reverence to the God of all creation.  The way we respect and reverence the house of God is a reflection of our respect and reverence towards God.

Why am I talking about respect and reverence for the house of God when I’m supposed to be talking about going to church with expectation?  Well, it’s simple.  If I went to your house and did not show it respect, odds are I’m not going to receive anything from you even if I expect it.  If I went to the White House but did not show respect towards it, then I would be amiss to expect anything from the President.  However, if I were to show great respect for the White House, the acting President would interpret that as respect for him in the role of President, and it would be his good pleasure to do whatever he can for me.  So, how can I really expect to receive something from God when I don’t even respect His house?

Another thing, if I don’t show respect towards those who represent God then I’m showing disrespect for Him.  The other day we had interviews where I work and an interesting thing took place.  One of the people interviewed had been showing an arrogant attitude and there was some concern if he was hired.  Well, as he was leaving he made a comment to another employee which showed disrespect towards current management.  The owner of the company heard this person make the comment and that was “all she wrote” as this guy torpedoed any chance of getting hired.  Just the same way, when God sees and hears our disrespect towards His servants, He has the final word.

If we want to receive from God when we go to church, the first place to begin with is to make sure we have a respect for Him, and that we show Him that respect by our respect towards His servants and His house.  The next thing we need to do is go with expectation.  I’ve been in churches where people go, knowing that God could show up and touch them, but if He doesn’t then there is always next time.  These churches don’t see God do much, though He may move in their midst in a limited capacity at times.  There are other churches I have attended that people would attend with great expectation to receive something from God through music, word, and His servants, and these churches see God moving often.  Usually the people in these churches generally have a strong passion for Him, and that just creates an atmosphere that literally invite Him to show up.  I don’t know about you, but I want Him to feel both invited and welcomed to come and ‘visit’.  I want to go with an expectation that no matter what is said or done, or how good or bad things are, He is going to show up and meet me there.  Oh, that could happen at home or somewhere hidden in nature, but there is something about being with others of like mind in a corporate setting that rolls out the ‘red carpet’ for God, and I want to be there when He comes walking down the runway.  How about you?

So, if you don’t already do so, start going to church with expectancy and see what happens.  Your life may never be the same when you begin to see God respond to your expectancy of His attendance and what He has for you.  You can’t expect God to give you something you’re not expecting to get, especially if you don’t show Him the respect and reverence due Him.

Copyright 2012 – John Johansson

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