Church has been a part of my life since I was a kid. Anytime the church doors were open, we were there. Whether it was choir rehearsal, Bible study, prayer meeting, mid-week worship, Sunday school, or Sunday worship, my mom and grandmother made sure I was in attendance.
As I got older, they didn’t insist I attend every single function. I could occasionally skip meetings held during the week. But there were few excuses that could get me out of Sunday worship. Unfortunately, the Sunday service soon became routine, and I would come absent of any eagerness or expectancy.
For many Christians, the weekly repetition of Sunday worship has become mundane and monotonous. But the Lord’s Day is quite the opposite. It’s supernatural and exciting. The family of God is given the opportunity to come together and worship our Creator. We get to adore him through song, public reading of Scripture, preaching of the word, and the Lord’s Supper. This is a habit of grace, not to bore or burden us, but for our good. We should enter with eagerness and expectancy.
Eager to Meet God
When we wake up on Sunday morning, there is good reason to have an eagerness in our hearts to gather and worship with the saints. Sunday worship becomes routine for many because we forget, or fail to recognize, the privilege it is to worship the living God with members of the body of Christ. Therefore, we’re not eager to enter.
The night before service, stop and meditate on the reality that you know the only true and living God. His title alone has vast implications, and he’s more than worthy of our worship. The Scriptures reveal that God has always existed and sustains everything that currently exists (Colossians 1:17). He created everything out of nothing (Genesis 1:1) for himself (Colossians 1:16). Everything that you see around you belongs to him because the earth is his (Psalm 24:1–2) and he rules it all (Psalm 29:10). There is nothing he doesn’t understand, and he is never surprised. His wisdom and knowledge have no limit (Psalm 147:5), and he is able to do anything but fail (Matthew 19:26).
He reigns and rules over every aspect of our lives. Nothing is an accident, nor can anything happen to you that he has not ordained. Sickness, tragedy, pain, or want will never strike without his permission. Everything has a purpose that will result in his glory and our good.
Our awareness of his mere existence and our inability to exhaust his greatness should leave us in awe. But he isn’t detached — he’s near to us and expresses his goodness towards us.
Expecting to Experience Goodness
Many struggle to believe God is good. Others may be able to conceive that he is good to others, but struggle to believe that God will be good to them. We often personify God in the worst ways. We picture him as this angry critic that sits on his throne, annoyed by all of our imperfections and failures. If we’re honest, we believe that he withholds good things from us and is hardly concerned with what is going on in our lives. This can cause us to become disinterested in Sunday worship.
The Scriptures paint a strikingly different picture of God. The Book of Exodus tells the story of the people of Israel groaning because of their slavery. They cried out to God to rescue them from their misery. God’s response to his people should bring us great comfort:
During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel — and God knew. (Exodus 2:23–25)
God was aware of the pain of his people and remembered the covenant that he made with their forefathers (Genesis 15:14; 46:4). He wasn’t distant or unconcerned. He saw what they were going through, knew their pain, and responded out of his goodness and grace.
The Scriptures loudly proclaim God’s goodness. The Psalmist says that everything that God is and does is good (Psalm 119:68). He is good to everyone and extends compassion that we don’t deserve (Psalm 107:1). He’s the source of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17), and he blesses those who rest in him (Psalm 34:8).
As you prepare for worship, expect to experience the living God who is supremely good.
Every Sunday, we have the privilege of hearing the gospel preached. The preaching of the word is vital because in it God is revealed and our lives are changed. When we enter worship, we should expect to leave differently than we entered. Why? The gospel is proclaimed in order to prepare “your minds for action” and “set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13).
God is so good that he doesn’t just forgive our sin, but delivers us from our slavery to sin. His goodness leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). We have “everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3).
So as you gather together with the church this weekend to worship, seek to come readily and with a hopeful heart, knowing that you get to meet with God and taste his goodness afresh. What is about to happen is supernatural and exciting. You get to worship God, and you can find comfort in the fact that your anxiety, guilt, weariness, and other struggles are not ultimate because you are in Christ.
Enter with eagerness and expectancy.