This is the zeal that we need: zeal inspired by God’s love to be zealous to share God’s love. This zeal burns with a holy fire that is controlled but cannot be quenched. This kind of zeal is not the middle ground of “just right” between two extremes, but it is zeal that is hot, truly hot enough that excites the Christian to share the love of God with others.
Tapping into the means of grace as a channel to have divine power and grace made available 24/7/365 is a comforting and empowering promise upon which Christianity rests. But it doesn’t quite tell the whole story or describe the importance of rhythm, the need for ebb and flow in our lives. Humanity is, after all, created for work for six days and rest on the seventh.
The spiritual life cannot be sustained at full tilt. Seasoned disciples know that growth and strength come from periods in the desert.
Celtic saints became saints because the community in which they lived recognized their life of holiness and relationship to God. Perhaps one reason there are so many Celtic saints is because they saw no separation between what was secular and religious – all of life was sacred, and therefore consecrated to God. It was intertwined, much like the famous knotwork still popular today.
With the imago Dei stamped upon the heart of each believer, Christlikeness is the true and valid goal for each and every Christian. The questions help us navigate the journey and our resulting growth in and towards Christlikeness. Each journey towards God’s holiness is as unique and as personal as our age, gender, race, ethnicity, occupation, or status.
“Advent bids us to a posture of getting ready for Christ. We prepare our homes and our hearts not only for the celebration of the nativity inaugurating the twelve days of Christmas, but also for the constant way Christ breaks into our lives each and every day, and for the eventual, expected and awaited second coming of Christ in history.”
“Dystopian young adult fiction is not my preferred genre for leisure reading. For one thing, a novel set in a stark world in which humanity is regularly repressed and coerced is a sure prescription for disturbed sleep! However, having recently committed to helping a middle-schooler with a literature project, I’ve fallen headlong into Victoria Roth’s “Divergent” trilogy. I’ve grown a little more understanding of why this genre has captivated the imaginations of today’s young adults. Rather than diagnose the sociological factors contributing to the proliferation of this genre, I offer these observations from the perspective of one whose reading includes the writings of John Wesley…”
“But prayer is not always natural. Prayer can be some of the hardest work a Christian can do. Because prayer does call us into a space in which we admit our complete helplessness to engineer our lives and petition the Triune God of the universe to intercede on our behalf, prayer can be a humbling act of submission we do not want to engage in – especially when we think we have the means to fulfill our potential by ourselves.”
The truth is this: every Christian – regardless of our stage in faith – is in need of discipleship! And here is another important thing: I am not just referring to an 8-week class or a long term study. Discipleship, attending to your relationship with God, is more than a class – it is a way of life!
Wesley’s Third General Rule grounds us in Christian witness and faith. The ordinances of God are the fundamentals of how we get initiated into faith. Repetitive practice and exposer to prayer, worship, Scripture reading and study, Eucharist and even discovery of the lost discipline of fasting help mature us as Christian disciples. By participating in these uniquely Christian practices, we are made available to God’s grace that aids us in knowing how and when to avoid harm and do good. By attending on all the ordinances of God, we open ourselves to divine presence in our lives. Through these practices, we remember the past and look towards a future with hope illuminated by God’s grace.
Christian discipleship is characterizing how we engage in activities in this world that demonstrates the love of God to this world. Christian discipleship is about living in such a way that we distinguish ourselves as followers of Jesus from those that do similar things out civic duty, moral obligation, or humanitarian aid. Christian discipleship is not so much about doing something – or anything – at all. Christian discipleship is being a follower of Jesus and living in a manner consistent with Christ’s example even when we are hanging out with friends, stuck in traffic, or surfing the internet.
Like a tide that ebbs and flows upon a shore, the disciplines are like waves, ever-present with the rising and falling of the water. Discipleship is a life-long endeavor, regularly punctuated by the fasts and feasts we keep, consistently renewing and transforming us so we might be worthy vessels to offer the life giving water of Christ to a parched and weary world.