The title of this post is taken from a recent article by Rev. Steve Harper, a retired theological professor, who taught for more than thirty years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. He is also a retired Elder in the Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. Harper’s article appeared in the latest Cokesbury Commons newsletter.
Harper says when we equate a response to God’s grace with grace itself, which “leaves us falsely to believe that we are godly when we “feel like it,” and ungodly when we don’t. Falling for this, we go in search of feel-good religious experiences rather than the foundational ones that can build life in Christ. We become captives to a “if it feels good, do it” mindset which leaves us addicted to stimulations, even religious ones.”
If we look at John Wesley’s characteristics of a Christian life – loving God, rejoicing, giving thanks, praying, and loving others – we will move into an “engaged” Christian life and away from one motivated by emotions. Developing our Christian life based on Wesley’s characteristics we can “give us unnecessary things for Lent” and add those things that will fill us with the Holy Spirit to live an engaged faith beyond Lent.