“As you , therefore, have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” (Colossians 2:6-7, NRSV)
We’re continuing our series on John Wesley’s Three Simple Rules, and this week we’re concluding the series with the third rule, “Stay in love with God.” In actuality, the way Wesley described this rule in the 18th Century was for the Methodists to “[attend] to all the ordinances of God.” These ordinances included worship, hearing the word of God read and preached, participating in the Lord’s Supper, holding family and private prayer, searching the scriptures, and fasting or abstinence. We refer to these ordinances today as spiritual disciplines that are designed to retrain our affections toward a greater love for God.
In the same way, we have to attend to all our relationships for them to be healthy; likewise, we must invest in our relationship with God if we want it to be vibrant. Many of us neglect our relationship with God and then, when we experience some crisis, find it difficult to connect with God at the time when we need him most. Nurturing our relationship with God is vital to a meaningful and sustaining connection with God for both the challenging and the joyful moments.
In Colossians, Paul describes our need to be “rooted and built up in him and established in the faith…” I love working in the yard, and although I don’t plant a lot of annuals, when I do plant something, I work the ground and the root system of the plants to ensure the roots will “take.” The spiritual disciplines are the work we do with our soul to nurture ourselves into taking firm root in the faith that gives us the abundant life.
How are you doing regarding staying in love with God? Are you taking the steps necessary to ensure that you are “rooted and built up in him”? Do you see evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in increased love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control (see Galatians 5:22-23)? Are there habits that you have that are blocking you from a broader and more engaging relationship with God? Are you willing to adopt new practices and behaviors that will contribute to the vibrant life of faith you desire? Staying in love with God is worth the investment of your time and energy in observing the ordinances of God. If you do, you won’t be disappointed. Give it a try!
Rev. Dale Cohen
Senior Pastor of Canterbury United Methodist Church