ARE YOU IN A RELATIONSHIP OR ARE YOU IN A RELIGION?
God never places an expectation on us. Expectations requires that someone does not know the future or outcome and is trying to control behavior to get the desired result.
We try to control behavior largely through expectations. God knows everything about us so why would He have an expectation other than what He already knows? That would be foolish. And beyond that, because He has no expectations, we can never disappoint him.
What He does have is a constant and living expectancy in our relationship with Him, and He gives us an ability to respond to any situation and circumstance in which we find ourselves in with a hopeful expectancy.
Let us ask ourselves if we are in relationship, or just acting religious?
“Yet they act so pious! They come to the Temple every day and seem delighted to learn all about me. They act like a righteous nation that would never abandon the laws of its God. They ask me to take action on their behalf, pretending they want to be near me.
” (Isaiah 58:2)
“Although I am free from everyone's expectations, I have made myself a servant to all of them to win more people”.
(1 Corinthians 9;19)
“But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.”
“Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ's blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.”
I was confronted with two words recently that really caused me to re-evaluate my relationship with God and others.
They two words are; “expectancy,”
Whenever we begin to develop a relationship with some one, there is an expectancy. It is the fuel that causes the relationship to grow. But what happens when expectations are thrown into the relationship?
God invites us into a relationship with him and it is filled with expectancy and it is the joy of our hearts to to spend time with Him. But as time goes by we tend to place these expectations on ourselves that end up hindering our relationship with God.
A good word that describes what I am talking about is, “legalism”
which is living by a set of rules.
We tend to place these expectations on others also. We say you must do such and such because...
As I was thinking about this I thought about time in my life where I became resentful about prayer. I was in a church that was all about legalism and rule keeping. I was in a morning prayer group 5 days a week, plus 2 hours a week on a prayer chain, plus a Friday night prayer meeting. Up until this time I delighted in prayer, then it all became an expectation that was placed upon me. I lost a since of expectancy and just fulfilled my obligations.
Can you see how loosing that expectancy and living with a set of expectations destroys relationship?
I have seen this in the Church so much in how we relate to one another. How many of us haven't had some expectation placed upon us by some one saying to us, “you must do this if you are a Christian.”
There are those who are just in a church setting looking for what they can get for themselves. They often use this technique to get what they want.
All these expectations we place on ourselves, others, and upon God block intimacy.
Do not mistaken responsibility for expectation. We need to live responsibly in all we do as Christians, but it is a mistake to make relationships all about the you should... if you are...
God is constantly calling us into a deeper intimate relationship with Himself. It is exciting, it is filled expectancy, and it is communion with the lover of our soul. This is what God desires for all of us.
Father we repent for our failure in placing road blocks up in our relationship with you and others. We desire the expectancy that leads us past just obligations and expectations and into a vital and living relationship with you and with other. In Jesus name we pray, amen