This article is part of a church-wide study of the book “One Faithful Promise” by Magrey deVega. Learn more >
We all know folks who keep their composure, and folks who lose it.
My return flight from the Holy Land was so late, many of us missed our connections and had to spend the night at hotels near Chicago’s O’Hare. Some handled it with equanimity; others were irate.
Methodist founder, John Wesley, prescribed five steps to spiritual renewal. Last week, we took Step One: Confide in God—be open with God, drop our mask, show ourselves. Step Two takes us deep into Wesley’s prescription for healing: Compose your spirit.
Shakespeare composed poetry, Mozart symphonies, Jefferson his Declaration of Independence. You have no doubt composed letters or presentations. Created, arranged, put together. “Compose your spirit” suggests a way of putting life together.
“When we align ourselves with God’s purposes, we enter an artistic partnership with the ultimate composer.”
Step one asked us, how are you? Step two asks, who are you? Psalm 8 says, you’re almost divine. The Apostle Paul says, “Don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought.”
I attended a workshop, once, where one of the leaders put us in pairs and we took turns asking our partner “Who are you?” Every response followed with the same question: who are you? First word out of my mouth: mother. Who are you? Wife, daughter. The question kept coming. Sister, friend, pastor, leader. Who: seeker, reader, nature lover. Mas y mas: Who are you?
Who are you?
What would this exercise reveal for you? What are the ingredients of your life? Step two invites us to order our life in alignment with God’s design. Some believe there is a specific blueprint for each person. That’s not what I’m saying.
Took me 7 years to answer God’s call to ordained ministry—for one thing I’d never seen a female pastor—I knew they existed but I’d never seen one…. But mainly, mainly because I assumed that if I said “Yes” to God, God would send me to China. I didn’t want to go to China! Why did I, why do we assume we should avoid God’s design, our mission? When we align ourselves with God’s purposes, we enter an artistic partnership with the ultimate composer. We aren’t losing anything, we are gaining.
John Wesley invites us to yield our actions to God; not giving up free will; but using our will to listen for the Spirit’s leading and syncing our behavior with God’s design.
Truth is, we’re composing our lives all the time. Why not trust God’s spirit to design your best and highest use. Confide in God. Compose your spirit.
In Wesley’s service of covenant renewal, we pray, “Lord, I am no longer my own, but yours.” Homework: compose your Spirit, yield your actions to God. Sound hard? Maybe. Might also be the most freeing thing you could do.
Loving God, receive our fears and anxieties associated with full trust and surrender. Give us resolve to yield our actions over to you. Thank you for giving us the capacity to serve and to make a difference in your kingdom, for healing our own lives and the world around us. Amen.
Rev. Bobbi Kaye Jones
Want to know more?
Read John Wesley’s sermon, “On Working Out Our Own Salvation,” found online at the Wesley Center Online.
“All experience, as well as Scripture, shows this salvation to be both instantaneous and gradual. It begins the moment we are justified, in the holy, humble, gentle, patient love of God and man. It gradually increases from that moment, as ‘a grain of mustard-seed, which, at first, is the least of all seeds,’ but afterwards puts forth large branches, and becomes a great tree; till, in another instant, the heart is cleansed, from all sin, and filled with pure love to God and man… But how are we to work out this salvation?”