About three weeks ago, my church held a youth and young adults conference called “Encounter”. Three days of worship, crazy tribal wars and as the name states, “encounters” with God. These three days were absolutely incredible… and God did literally above and beyond what I ever could have expected Him to do.
However, three weeks later and many conversations later, I have realised that there seems to be a trend in thought. A few people I have spoken to have said that they hear all of these amazing stories from people who were there, and yet, they were disappointed, because God did not seem to do anything drastic in their life. Others have simply explained that they feel as if God is no longer speaking to them. Now this is not the fault of God or of the church but rather people’s perspectives seem to be wrong.
I have been in this position many times… going to church events and coming out disappointed because despite my supposed “expectation”, nothing crazy happened. Or even what I had just been hoping for.
This has led me to a few different realisations over the past few years when it comes to “expectancy”, the way God works and living a life with Jesus, when all is said and done, and there aren’t people, a worship band, or a preacher to encourage me and help me focus on Him.
The first thing God very clearly spoke to me about a little a while ago is that HE IS NOT A GOD OF BOXES.
Now let me explain that… when I went into a camp a little while ago, I went in with a specific thing that I was wanting God to do. Now there is nothing wrong with praying and believing for God to speak to you or do something in a particular aspect of your life, but I went into this camp absolutely focusing on that one thing that I wanted God to do, totally ignoring what GOD might have wanted to do in me! I left that event confused and frustrated at God because surely faith and expectation was supposed to lead to breakthrough right?
As I lay in my sleeping bag that night, and throughout the next few weeks, God began to help me realise that because I was focusing SO HARD on something small I wanted to happen that week, I ended up missing out on what He actually wanted to do! You see, instead of being expectant for one little thing, I should have gone into that conference, yes, expectant for God to move, but at the same time open to whatever He wanted to do. In Ephesians 3:20 in the Message translation it says:
“God can do anything, you know -far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us.”
Meaning, if God can do SO MUCH MORE than we could ever dream of, we should definitely not be boxing Him in with our small ideas of how He works but rather open to Him, watching Him move far beyond what we can imagine. This does not only apply to events either, we should be living our LIVES with open expectation, a life with NO BOXES, allowing God to do MORE AND MORE AND MORE than we could ever dream of in our everyday lives.
A song by Bethel music called “In over my head” perfectly captures this:
Would you come and tear down the boxes that I have tried to put You in
Let love come teach me who You are again
Would you take me back to the place where my heart was only about You
And all I wanted was just to be with You
Come and do whatever You want to
I love this as it speaks of learning who God truly is and allowing Him to do exactly as he wants to: “On Earth as it is in Heaven” (Matthew 6:10).
This moves me onto my next point. God, and revelation from Him is NOT JUST A FRIDAY/SUNDAY THING or even just a conference thing! We also CANNOT LIVE OFF OF SOMEONE ELSE’S REVELATION but need to seek God for ourselves. God wants to have relationship with us, and wants to pour into us, every second of every day. If we rely on being filled at conference or even just at church on a Friday and a Sunday, and living off that revelation, we will end up running dry. Because we need to be continually filled with His presence and continually gaining new perspective and revelations from Him so that we can pour out into other people, and throughout our everyday lives. This means we need to be constantly seeking Him:
We need to seek Him in prayer:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” – Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
Meaning we should be praying all the time. And at the end of the day, a relationship is not possible without constant communication, therefore chatting to God is the best ever for building relationship, and drawing closer to Him.
Furthermore, reading the Bible is SO important!
Hebrews 4:12 says:
“For we have the living Word of God, which is full of energy, and it pierces more sharply than a two-edged sword. It will even penetrate to the very core of our being where soul and spirit, bone and marrow meet! It interprets and reveals the true thoughts and secret motives of our hearts.” (TPT)
The Word of God (The Bible) is not only incredible as it reveals who God is and what Jesus did for us, but God uses it to speak to our every situation as it begins to penetrate our soul, therefore it is essential to growing and receiving revelation from God. If it feels like God isn’t speaking to you, open your Bible and ask Him to speak to you, seek Him with all you’ve got and don’t worry, sure enough, He will speak to you.
So, basically, I just want to encourage you, don’t limit God because He wants to do more than you can even imagine; seek Him always, and don’t just rely on events at church or other people’s revelation to be filled. Pursue Him, His truth for your life and pursue relationship with Him, because its the best thing you will ever do, and you know what?
Encounter is not just three days… it is everyday… so take that level of expectation and you will not only experience Him on a Sunday, but everyday you will continually be renewed and refreshed by His presence and peace x