Simple Rule #3

Monday, March 30, 2009

Rev. Mark preached last Sunday about John Wesley’s third simple rule, "Stay in Love with God." I pondered all week one of his statements. Referring to the little attention we give to expressing our love for God, Mark said we’ve become “accustomed to his grace.” All week I’ve sung in my mind a variation of a song lyric, “We’ve Grown Accustomed to His Grace.” It’s so true. We take God for granted when we do not actively show our love for him in our thoughts, words, and actions. Mark posed the question, “How would all of our other relationships work if we treated everyone the way we treat God?” Ouch! If we ignored our friends and loved ones, how long would they stay in our lives?

In his book, Three Simple Rules, Rueben Job enumerates the essential spiritual disciplines that Wesley believed we must practice in order to stay in love with God.
  • A daily time of prayer
  • Reflection upon and study of Scripture
  • Regular participation in the life of a Christian community, including weekly worship and regular participation in the Lord’s Supper
  • Doing some act of goodness or mercy
  • Taking opportunities to share with and learn from others who also seek to follow the way of Jesus

This list, in essence, describes God’s “love language.” When we make these practices the habits of our lives, we show our love for God. We’re speaking his “love language” when we spend time with him, pay attention to him, express our devotion to him, and share his love with others. Aren’t these the behaviors we show to the people we love?

Singing is a way for me to express my love for God. Last week when I was in Italy with a group from my church, we took a gondola ride through the beautiful canals of Venice. The six ladies in our boat eagerly waited for the gondolier to serenade us with a melodic Italian love song. It didn’t happen. So, my friend Paulina and I belted out in English the Christian version of the Italian love song, “O Sole a Mio.” The words of the chorus to this song called “Down From His Glory” proclaim adoration for Christ.

Oh, how I love Him, how I adore Him,
My breath, my sunshine, my all in all
The Great Creator became my savior,
And all God's fullness dwelleth in Him .
What fun we had singing the chorus over and over through the channels and under the bridges where Italians and tourists cheered us on with applause. Many couldn’t understand our language, but they recognized the joy in our expression. God certainly understood our “love language.” I don’t think we should go about our daily life constantly singing our love for Jesus at the top of our lungs (In fact, Paulina and I finally got quite over ourselves after 7 or 8 rounds of the chorus!). However, wouldn’t it be great to feel that sense of abandon and freedom more often when we express our love for God?

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all you mind, and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30

Let’s discipline ourselves to stay in love with God by making a habit of spiritual practices. Let’s speak his “love language!”


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