It’s the holiday season!
With that in mind, many of us visit family and friends or have those loved ones in our own homes. Over the years, I have learned that most, if not all, hosts have their own set of rules that they expect to be followed by the guests that enter their homes.
Some expect visitors to remove their shoes before stepping foot on their plush, ivory-colored carpet. I had a great grandmother that kept her white furniture covered and we were not allowed to even breathe near it or put our feet on the white carpet that it sat on.
There are hosts that want everyone’s coat hung neatly in the front hall closet, or on the coat rack near the door. Some homeowners only allow eating in the dining room during special occasions and other times, the kitchen is the shared eating space.
Some hosts ask, or even require that guests bring a dish when attending their dinner parties. And then, there’s the occasional, “Make yourself at home and you don’t have to take those shoes off” host that you’ll come in contact with that only cares that you made it to the party.
One thing is for sure – there are specifics for each person’s home that you visit and I’m sure you have your own unwritten rules that you expect guests to follow as well.
The house of God also has rules that He expects us to follow upon entering, but His are written. Yep, God is the ultimate host and welcomes all, but He has specifics for how we should come before Him. He even had the psalmist, David, to make it known in our “play book”. It’s located here in Psalms 100:4:
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
This isn’t a suggestion, but a command that we are to follow; and if we don’t, we are disrespecting the house of God. We are expected to enter God’s house with a praise and with a heart of gratefulness.
SO, WHAT’S THE PLAY CALL?
When you cross the threshold of the house of God, be purposeful in your actions, what you do, and what you are offering to Him. Recognize that your etiquette when entering into worship sets the tone for your “visit” or time with Him. Just as we honor the special requests of our gracious hosts when we visit their homes, we are to honor God even more.
A few familiar “house rules” to take note of:
- Take off your shoes. And no, I don’t mean literally, but when you walk into God’s house, acknowledge that you have stepped onto holy ground. Exodus 3:5 says, “And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” This scripture in the New Living Translation (NLT) of the Bible says, “Do not come any closer,” the LORD warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground.”
- Hang your coat in the closet. When you take your coat off, naturally, it lifts somewhat of a weight from your shoulders (winter coats can be heavy). Psalms 55:22 says, “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” Take off that burden and let the Lord “hang” or handle it for you so that you may worship and praise Him freely.
- Bring a dish. In this instance, your “dish” is the worship that you offer unto the Lord. And just like taking a dish to a friend’s dinner party, you take your best, even if you’re only asked to bring the paper plates, cups, and napkins. John 4:23 says, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.”
So, as you prepare to go before the Lord, on any given day, remember to intentionally give God your best and enter into His presence prepared to give… prepared to worship.