May 24, 2018

Being Perfect for God OR…

May 24, 2018


Philippians 2:12-13
This weekend’s reading: Philippians 2:12-13


Today, we celebrate John Wesley’s Aldersgate experience of 280 years ago on May 24, 1738. Why? It’s good to remember and re-tell this story.
John Wesley wanted to be perfect so God would love him. He was very methodical with his a daily ritual of prayer, study, and giving alms. 
Later, while John was in the midst of a storm on a ship on a trip headed to Georgia, John realized, “I’ve come to saved the heathen, but who’s going to save me.” Again, John went to be a missionary so God would love him.
After returning from Georgia as a total failure, John reluctantly went to a Bible study at a place called Aldersgate. While listening to the leader read Martin Luther’s Introduction to the Book of Romans, he heard Luther emphasize that we are saved by our faith by God’s grace, not by anything we do. 
At that moment, Wesley said that his heart was strangely warmed. He realized he didn’t have to earn God’s love. God already loved him despite his flaws and failures. Before this moment, John did all he could do to earn God’s love. He now received God’s love by faith. Then, Wesley did the same methodical rituals, he had a different motive. He expressed love toward God through his deeds.
No one can become perfect in their faith in their own effort. Wesley learned, lived, and taught that only by letting God love us through the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit will we move on to perfect love. 


  • Do you feel that God loves and accepts you or do you feel you need to earn God’s love?
  • What are some moments when you realized that God really does love you, warts and all?
  • Are you letting the Holy Spirit love and guide you in what you do and say today?


  • Do you do what you do with your family in order for a family member to love you or do you do what you do because you love your family and know they love you?
  • We love infants who do nothing to earn, deserve or ask for you love and yet your love is there.  Describe how this is like God’s love towards you.
  • Describe a time in which you failed or in which you did something wrong, yet you knew your parents loved you in spite of your imperfections?
  • Talk about the feelings you have knowing that God loves you even more than your parents and other family members?

Most loving gracious Lord, we know we are not perfect and that only you are perfect. We know we cannot earn your love because you give your love each day. It’s already here, even now. Lord, transform our lives like you did John Wesley’s life. Help us to live our lives following and trusting you, not to earn your love, but to live your love. In your gracious name, I pray. Amen.