Faith— 01/16/2020

It’s A Wonderful Life

By Pastor Jerry Donovan

At the beginning of every new year many people make resolutions to improve themselves over the previous year. We joined our son and his family to visit the Guadalupe Mountains National park, which contains four of the highest mountains in Texas, on New Year’s day. We were surprised that most of the parking spots were full. It seems that many people had made a New Year’s resolution to hike to the highest point in Texas in 2020. Seeing the energy, time and money spent by all these people led me to consider what would it mean for us to commit ourselves to God’s plan for our lives in 2020?

John Wesley believed a mature disciple of Christ required the joining of believers in a covenant “to serve God with all our heart and with all our soul.” He urged his followers to renew, “at every point, our covenant, that the Lord should be our God.”

In addition it is important that we recognize our continuing need for confessing our sins. We have tended to connect confession only to the moment of turning to Christ for the first time. But scripture proves, and Wesley confirmed, every Christian’s need for a periodic prayer of confession as well. In Wesley’s own words: “the most holy among us is subject to a thousand ailments which spring from our fallenness.” Our shortcomings and human failings need the atoning blood of Christ.

What would it mean for us to commit ourselves to God’s plan for our lives in 2020? First, it would mean the forgiveness of our sins and the continuous realization of our constant need of the grace of God in our lives. Second, it would mean a resolve in our own lives to live as disciples of our Lord, sacrificing our own selfish motivations and living in our world as servant to others in the name of God. Finally, it would mean not trusting in our own strength and abilities, but fastening to the source of our strength and abilities, God himself.

John Wesley composed a Covenant Prayer on August 11, 1755 for a service that evening providing an opportunity for people to make or renew their covenant with God. At the conclusion of the service approximately 1,800 people stood up as testimony of their entry into this covenant. The following is a contemporary version of that prayer. “I am no longer my own, but yours. Put me to what you will, place me with whom you will. Put me to doing, put me to suffering. Let me be put to work for you or set aside for you, Praised for you or criticized for you. Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and fully surrender all things to your glory and service. And now, O wonderful and holy God, Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer, you are mine, and I am yours. So be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth, Let it also be made in heaven. Amen.”

Beginning each day with this simple prayer changed my life. I invite you to pray this prayer every morning, and experience a wonderful change in your life.