Challenged and changed

As we continue in our Sunday-morning series looking at ‘Hallmarks of Spirituality’, I hope, like me, you’ve been somewhat challenged along the way. I came to the conclusion a long time ago that being challenged is not a bad thing; after all, without challenge we have little incentive to be changed.

John Wesley seemed to have it all: Oxford education, devout religious background, a future mapped out following in his ordained father’s footsteps as a parish priest. Yet, during his outward voyage to take up a ministry post in the Georgia Colony, USA, Wesley met a group of Moravians, Christians with an emphasis on the simple and the pious. During a ferocious storm, Wesley observed that they had an inner strength that he lacked. The English on board were panicked by the storm, while the Moravians gathered to pray and sing hymns. The ship made it to the USA, and Wesley was sufficiently challenged by the Moravian faith to assess his own spiritual walk.

Two years passed and Wesley found himself back in the UK. His time in Georgia, ministering to the indigenous population, was not particularly successful and, upon returning, he sought the company of the Moravians, visiting one of their meetings in Aldersgate Street, London. During the meeting, Wesley felt convicted, his heart ‘strangely warmed’, and he later said, ‘An assurance was given me that He (the Lord Jesus Christ) had taken away my sins.’ Wesley was never the same again: challenged to take the gospel to all corners of the country, he was not only changed, but he became an agent for change, and multitudes were saved through his powerful ministry!

A great reminder that when we respond to the Lord’s challenges, we too can be changed!