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the motherload

WesleyIn the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate-Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans.  About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed.  I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation:  And an assurance was given me, that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.  —John Wesley

 

What kind of stuff do you put in your journal?  What do you mean you don’t journal?  Really?  I’m not sure everyone will get this, but part of the activation process of prophetic unction can happen while writing in your journal.  Although private, it is a declaration.  Not all of us are chair climbers or bed jumpers when it comes to declarations.  But to expend the energy to write it down definitely requires the cooperation of your mind and will.  It’s a great place to speak truth and dispel the lies that can so easily entangle us.

Dr. Bob Nichols said recently of journal work, “It’s a great tool for us to… go there – to process the stuff that’s on the inside of you. Most of us work hard to forget things, to bury it. Because it’s buried doesn’t mean you’ve processed it. Just because you forgave that person doesn’t mean that you processed it. It’s a misnomer. You can still have major pain even though you forgave. Forgiveness and trust are not the same thing. You can totally forgive them, but no longer trust them.  Journaling is more important than we think.”

It can also be a great opportunity to be naked, real—forthright.  MOST of us spend a great deal of energy covering up instead of stripping down.  Good Lord, if you can’t be honest with others, at least be honest with yourself!  Yes, it counts in the realms of an unglorious colloquy with naked self.

“I felt my heart strangely warmed” – John Wesley

This featured journal entry by John Wesley is so beautiful, simple, undeniably powerful—it’s the motherload.  It’s got all the juicy pieces of what we evangelicals would call “conversion.” Here are a few of my obviously simple thoughts about John Wesley’s entry.

First, there is this most wonderfully phrased passage about what happened when God moved on Wesley’s heart.  “Strangely warmed.”  What is there to be threatened of in those two words?  It’s a succulent image.  Notice that Wesley noticed what it felt like to him. He didn’t describe what preceded the “warming.”  There is no formula here. I doubt the father of Methodism suspected we’d be peeking into his private journal, or he might have been tempted to spell out the method for this “warming.” I know I would have. Remember, we want reality. Mystery doesn’t sit well in our spirituality.

Second, he linked it to trust and faith in the notion that salvation comes through Christ alone.  That’s a monster-huge discussion right there. I doubt most of us catch the real magnitude of Wesley’s words.  I’m not saying that I get it all, but I’m willing to make a wild guess that most of the church is very settled only in what it’s been taught.  BUT, not everyone has been taught the same things.  So, there’s a lot of wiggle room in the Body about what “through Christ alone” could all possibly mean.  How wide ARE those implications? Of course, what YOU’VE been taught is absolutely correct and whoever differs is absolutely wrong, right? Ha! Sorry, I’m messing with you, so let’s move on.

Without drawing a big ol’ line in the sand for who’s right and who’s wrong here, can we agree that the Father made a way for us to know how much He loves us?  Some of us realize it, and too many don’t. Is there any chance of a slim margin of agreement here among us?

Third (which is my personal favorite), Wesley mentions, “an assurance was given me.”  To me, this is indeed an important part of the motherload implications.  That assurance (and it is a real thing) should birth His humility inside of us, rather than mean-spirited certitudes and haughty religious absolutes.  If I’m not mistaken, that “assurance” is the presence of Father God, the Holy Spirit, and the residing Spirit of Christ.  There is nothing ugly or over-bearing that comes off those Persons.  Wesley received their divine grace.  He didn’t demand a template for that assurance.  It just landed softly, almost as gently as a dove.

“True grace is shocking, scandalous.”  – Philip Yancey

And lastly, he saw the atonement for some of what it was and how it applied to himself. Even though Wesley’s words are genuinely simple here, the idea that he’s articulating is not. Grace and forgiveness can’t really be contained, can they? There is always more than we need. How can we ever really get our minds around a supernatural ripple that is still expanding?

I love Philip Yancey’s brilliant statement in his book: What Is So Amazing About Grace? He says, “True grace is shocking, scandalous.” And so it is. Particularly when it comes to the wounded hearts of broken people. He also wrote, “Grace, like water, flows to the lowest part.” And thank God for that! We’ve all had our “lowest parts.” Some of us have paid dearly for them too. Which is usually when we find out how amazing grace really is.

Today, I’m grateful for Wesley’s discipline to record his thoughts. I’m deeply touched. Hope the motherload sits on you too.

MDP

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Me
    April 10, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Deep and good! I’m grateful too for people that write and journal! Maybe one day I will be one of those people. 😉

  2. Carol Smith
    April 23, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    loved it! I just wish I had been writing in a journal…

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