How Is Your Soul?

“How is your soul?” For John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, this was a crucial question for every follower of Jesus Christ. So much so, that Wesley started the “class meeting” as a means for Christians to ask that question of each other as members of a small group that covenanted to meet at least once a week.

It wasn’t a social time, nor was it a Bible study. It was a way for Christians to disciple each other toward growing their faith (which, for Wesley, meant growing closer to Christ). And, of course, that also meant being honest with oneself and being intentional in one’s discipleship. Wesley also saw the beginning of a new year as a great opportunity to consider these things.

So, here we are at the beginning of another new year, and maybe we are thinking about some changes or resolutions we need to make for our lives. Certainly, it is always good to think about healthy living, or being more kind and thoughtful of others. Perhaps we would like to take on a new thing— a hobby, a special task, learn a new lan- guage, or find a place to volunteer.

All of these are good and beneficial; however, none are more important—in the scheme of things, according to Wesley and the Apostle Paul—than tending to one’s soul. So, as one of your pastors, may I ask, “How is your soul?”

Seriously, how are you doing, really? Are you satisfied with where you are in your faith journey? Or does it seem as if something is missing?

Many people seem to be content with where they are, but is that what Christ expects of us? Here is a truth about faith: You and I cannot stand still or tread water in the Christian life.

We are either moving closer toward Christ, or we are missing (rejecting) opportunities to grow and, therefore, gradually moving away from Christ. There isn’t a middle ground here, brothers and sisters.

Paul makes it clear that the goal of every person who has professed Christ should be to become a disciple—a follower—of Jesus Christ.
Kevin Watson, in his book THE CLASS MEET- ING, says this doesn’t happen by reading books about following Jesus; it happens by doing.

It happens by being with fellow Christians, each of whom is also “on the Way.” It happens when we hear the Word in worship and study, and seek to live it. And it happens when we are intentional in our praying, and giving, and serving, and witness- ing, here in our church and out in the community. It happens when you and I strive to live the commitment and vows we have made when we joined this Body of Christ.

Moving into this new year, Lauren and I want to focus on what it means to live in covenant with God through a series of sermons based on our membership vows. And our hope and prayer is that each of us will make it our resolution to “grow in Christ.”

Again, I ask, “How is your soul?”

Mike

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