John Wesley Day: A Heart Strangely Warmed

Hello Friends,

A special day took place a few weeks ago, and I thought I would share it with you! (And no, it wasn’t my birthday!) May 24th of every year is known across the Methodist/Wesleyan family as “Wesley Day.” It marks the day when John Wesley got the order of salvation right. Prior to May 24th, 1738, John Wesley–the founder of the People Called Methodist, a movement–believed he had to be perfect before God would forgive him of his sins. Are any of you perfect? Do you always do the right thing? Do you always listen to your parents? Are you always nice to your siblings?

After attending a meeting on Aldersgate Street in London, John Wesley realized that we don’t have to be perfect to be forgiven by God. We can be forgiven right here, right now—imperfect as we are—because that is what God does: He forgives us today and doesn’t wait until we are “perfect.” When Wesley realized this, as his journal notes, “I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”[1] Mr. Wesley realized that God is always wanting to forgive us and that we don’t have to be perfect to receiver God’s forgiveness. However, he does give us five instructions that can help us be forgiven and have a heart that is warmed.

Here are Wesley’s Five Instructions:

  1. First, we must Love God. Our life in Christ begins in the fact that we love God. There is no other starting point for the life of faith or the journey of discipleship or even spiritual formation, than to say we love God. Jesus asks Peter three times, “Do you love me?” and it wasn’t until the last time which Peter finally understood what Jesus was asking. Jesus was asking Peter, “Do you trust me? Do you have faith in me? Will you follow me? Will you live a life the resembles who I am and what I do?” The love of God is the goal to which we aspire. A heart strangely warmed, loves God. Do you love God?
  2. Second, we must Rejoice in God. Nehemiah 8:10 reads, “Don’t be sad, because the joy from the LORD is your strength.” It leads me to understand that when I rejoice in the LORD, His joy shines through me to others as my heart is strangely warmed. As a follower we are called to rejoice in God and receive is His joy of everlasting. When we allow joy to be our blessed happiness, our heart is strangely warmed.
  3. Third, we must Give Thanks. In 2 Corinthians 9:15, Paul wrote, “Thank God for his gift that words can’t describe”; and in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks in every situation because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” When was the last time you gave thanks to God for what God has done, is doing, and may do in your life? This thanks doesn’t have to be complicated: it can be simple and still change your life. When we give thanks, our heart is strangely warmed because we are doing things and sayings similar to what Jesus did and said.
  4. Fourth, we must Pray Constantly. Wesley knew that by praying from the heart, it is possible to be fully engaged in the affairs of life while simultaneously being attentive to God. Do you pray? What do you pray for? First Timothy 2:1 asserts, “First of all, then, I ask that…prayers…be made for all people.” We discover that Wesley has given us a vision and pattern for prayer that is for anyone, anytime, and anywhere. We are called to live a life of prayer, and as we pray our heart is strangely warmed.
  5. Fifth, we must Love Others. We are simply called to love others. Christ’s love is something that Wesley didn’t wait to share. As a matter of fact, Wesley hastens to say it extends to people we don’t know, and to people whose lives are not like our own, and to people we don’t necessarily agree with. It extends even to our enemies. We are called to love others. In all that we do, in all that we say, in all the places we go, we are called to help God by showing Him our love and by offering our love to all people. When we love others with the same love Christ gives us, our heart is strangely warmed.

From 1738 until now, what John Wesley laid out for us are still instructions that we must do our best to follow today. Although God will forgive us whenever, God still needs us to do some work so that we can live like Jesus: loving God, praying, giving thanks, rejoicing, and loving others. Are you willing to follow these instructions? I hope you are because I know Jesus wants to warm your heart so that you can continue to grow and live into the person that God made you to be!

Who would have ever thought that someone born so many years ago could teach us “youngsters” something that we need to cherish today!?

Your Friend, Holy Spirit!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *