I started this blog about 9 months ago. I have tried to start a blog before and I usually write four or five entries and then fade into the abyss. This time, I told myself I would write one entry per week. That’s it. Not every post is that great. When people tell me, “I read your blog,” my typical response is, “Oh, you’re the one.” The stats sometimes suggests I’m not far off.
There are some days, I don’t feel like writing at all. I have had to make myself do it. I have heard it said that the key to becoming a better writer is the mantra, “butt in the seat.” You don’t get better at writing if you don’t write. Some days you just to have to solider up and write even when you don’t have the inspiration. The myth is that you have to wait for the inspiration. I find the opposite is true. Inspiration comes as you begin to write.
I have wanted this blog to be about helping people live their Christian faith more devotedly and to share honest struggles I have as a pastor and follower of Jesus. Here’s where the “butt in seat” theology comes in hand. If we want to grow in our Christian faith, we need to take the same attitude as writers. We need to develop practices we do each day and week that form our Christian character. Some days these practices will not be the most exciting task on our to-do list.
I’m a Methodist. True to our name, we believe there’s a method to becoming a devoted follower of Jesus. We call these methods the means of grace. They are practices that help us stay in love with God. These practices include daily prayer, partaking in Holy Communion, serving the poor, reading our scriptures, getting involved in a small group ministry. It’s not just one day of prayer that will change our hearts. It’s our devotion to a method of praying over time that changes and forms us. The same is true for the other practices.
There are days that I struggle to pray as long and as focused as I would like. Life happens. The kids want to go to the pool. On those days, where I haven’t put my knees on the ground and prayed, I have felt off kilter. I lack grounding. I long for God and that takes a method to form our relationship with Christ.
There is the old story from the methodist annals about John Wesley in 1738. At this time in his life, he was a minister in the Anglican Church in England. He was struggling because he didn’t have an assurance of his faith. He was burned out. He asked himself, “how can you preach faith to others if you don’t have faith yourself?” He asked a Moravian pastor named Peter Bohler if he should stop preaching all together. Bohler responded to Wesley, “By no means. Preach faith till you have it; and then, because you have it, you will preach faith.”
Wesley would do just that. He would go to the prisons and proclaim the word of God. Through this practice, the Holy Spirit stirred in his heart in mighty ways. Why? He made preaching the gospel his duty and faithful practice. It was his method. Just a few months later, he had a conversion experience where he felt the assurance of his salvation through Christ.
For our faith in Christ to grow, we need a method. What’s yours?