“Give yourselves to the Lord as His Servants, and bind yourselves to him as His Covenant-Servants.” -John Wesley
John Wesley wanted all Methodists to be “Covenant –Servants” of God. He pointed to the scripture in Deuteronomy as his basis: “Today you have obtained the Lord’s agreement: to be your God; and for you to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, his commandments, and his ordinances, and to obey him. Today the Lord has obtained your agreement: to be his treasured people, as he promised you, and to keep his commandments.” (Deut 26:17-18) Wesley urged all people to take these words with profound seriousness. Today’s Methodists have fundamentally lost the Wesleyan concept of becoming a Covenant Servant. Our world is not in the habit of making covenants or doing service. Wesley put forth five ways to put this covenant into practice. Let’s try to recapture his concept.
English: Remember John Wesley, Wroot. Photo by...
SET APART TIME- Specifically, he pointed to the need of covenant people to have regular, secret time with God. Prayer, silence, and secret time with God are the fertilizer of the soul. Without such times we spiritually wither and die.
SERIOUSNESS OF SPIRIT- No relationship develops without a serious intent. The maker of the Covenant must be willing to work long and hard to keep the promises.
CLAIM THE GRACE OF COVENANT PEOPLE- With the covenant comes the grace of God, and that grace is beyond our human comprehension. People must claim and utilize God’s abundant grace on their journeys. Too often, we rely upon our strength at the neglect of the immeasurable strength of God. As covenant people that grace and strength is ours to use.
RESOLVE TO BE FAITHFUL- I can’t put it any better than Wesley himself. “Having engaged your hearts, open your mouth, and subscribe with your hands to the Lord, resolve in his strength never to go back.” The resolution is to never go back to life as it was before our covenant with God. Exercise control over our actions and our words as we strive to live for Him.
DO THE WORK OF THE COVENANT- We are commanded go forth to do the witness and work of the Lord. In our hands and through our words, the good news should manifest itself. Our work is done as if God were by our side watching our every move.
Wesley’s Covenant Prayer begins—“O dreadful God, for the passion of your Son, I beech you to accept your poor Prodigal now prostrating himself at your door: I have fallen from you by my iniquity, and am by nature a son of death, and a thousand fold more a child of hell by my wicked practices; but of your infinite grace you have promised mercy to me in Christ if I will but turn to you with all my heart: therefore upon the call of your gospel, I am now come in, and throwing down my weapons, submit myself to your mercy.” Life could be truly different if we all went to God in that frame of mind.