Having grown up going to church, volunteering in a church, working for a church, and now having started a church and pastored a church for over 4 years, I have come to discover a great danger.
Most people go to church, initially, because they are looking for something for themselves: peace, comfort, guidance, forgiveness of sins, community, friendship, belonging, blessing, opportunity to serve, deeper relationship with and connection to God, teaching from the Bible, a place where their kids can learn about God, etc.
And don't get me wrong, I hope the church that I pastor is a church where people can find and enjoy all of these things and more! I hope that people can discover that a life lived in relationship with God is better than a life lived outside of a relationship with God.
The great danger of church is that it can so easily become more about you than it is about God.
God and all the religious activities you consume and participate in just become a means to your ends. Instead of God becoming the climax of your religious experience, His blessings are your greatest joy.
The problem with this is that the purpose of church isn't ultimately for you to be fulfilled, the purpose of church is for God to be praised!
At some point in every person's church attendance and church involvement, a transition must take place.
God must cease to become a means to our ends and we must begin to see ourselves as a means to His ends - His name being glorified, His name being praised, His name being high and lifted up, His name and His reputation meaning more to us than our name and our reputation.
Can't you see? If this transition doesn't take place we could spend our entire lives serving God but worshipping ourselves! Attending church for the ultimate purpose of attending to ourselves.
We exist for God. He does not exist for us.
Before we were, He was.
After we are, He still will be.
But as insignificant as that may make you feel, what I have come to discover about dying to myself, worshipping God alone, and making myself a means to God's ends is this: it is in living in this way that I am most thoroughly and completely fulfilled.
Maybe what John Piper has been saying for all these years is true after all,
God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.