By Bill Brandstatter
A few years ago, I was
talking to a Christian about his commitment to God. He said
he didn’t go to worship much because God had “touched him.”
He stated that he took his granddaughter, but he hadn’t been
to worship in three weeks. Church just wasn’t what he
expected. So I asked him, just what did he expect?
What do you expect of God?
Some expect God to put a stamp of approval on their
lifestyle and to accept them without any change on their
part. These folks might reason that since God is just and
kind, He would accept them as they are. Jesus, however
preached, “Repent, the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He
also stated, “Except you repent you shall all likewise
perish.” (Luke 13:3) We have to change for God to accept us.
Some may think very little of
God‘s perspective and only think about their own. Remember,
God doesn’t think like man does. (Is. 55:8, 9) Man lives in
a physical world. Often what man expects in the physical, he
also expects in the spiritual. When excitement,
entertainment, and pleasure are the way of the physical,
some expect that in the spiritual as well. Any church that
doesn’t provide those is not what they expect.
Sometimes man may think God’s
ways are unfair. Some said so in the past. (Ezek. 18:25)
Those living in a sinful relationship might believe it is
unfair that God wants them to separate. Someone else in a
dead end marriage can’t believe that God wants them to stay
together “till death do you part.” Those who are living a
sinful lifestyle might consider it unfair that they must
leave that lifestyle in order to get to heaven. (Gal.
5:19-21) Yet, who is it that sets the standard of fairness?
Who decides right or wrong? God does.
Some may expect God to do
what man is supposed to do. God cannot save a person who
does not want to be saved. God cannot save someone who has
not met His requirements. (Matt. 7:21) When the rich man was
in torment as recorded in Luke chapter 16, he wanted someone
to go to his brothers on earth to warn them. The answer was,
“They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.”
(Luke 16:29) Those who want to be saved must follow God's
laws. Anything else is not acceptable.
We cannot expect God to
strike us with a burst of Bible knowledge. It takes study on
the part of man to understand the will of God. The Bereans
searched the scriptures to see if the preaching they heard
was accurate. (Acts 17:11) We must study God’s Word and
handle it correctly. (2 Tim. 2:15) Let us pray that we
always strive to do what God expects so that we have a good
conscience toward Him. (Acts 24:16; 1 Pet. 3:21) God loves
us so much that He puts guidelines, rules, and ways in place
to help us get through this life and be in heaven one day
with Him. If we follow Him, we will achieve that goal.
– Bill Brandstatter preaches for the Marion Church of Christ
in Marion, IL. He may be contacted through the
congregation's website: http://marionchurchofchrist.com/