The educational classes have been beneficial. I have learned about heart medications and the impact of salt on the heart. I must confess that the change of diet to eliminate much of the salt has been a challenge. I never realized how much salt is in so many of the processed foods I have routinely eaten. I had been consuming huge amounts of salt without ever being aware of that fact! I have also been challenged to exercise more vigorously. During my exercise sessions, the staff connected me to a heart monitor. They see exactly what my heart is doing – its current heart rate and rhythm. There is no fooling a heart monitor! I cannot tell myself that I am working hard, if the monitor does not also indicate that my heart rate has risen to a certain level.
All of us get comfortable with our present condition. We tend to resent anyone who tells us that we could do more. Typically we get defensive, justifying our past patterns. We might be critical of those suggesting that we could do more, listing their faults and shortcomings.
John Wesley was a leader who always asked his followers to do more. One of his favorite questions was: “Are you going on to perfection in love?” He prodded the early Methodists to keep growing in faith and maturing in character. He was not satisfied with one’s current condition. There is always room for improvement. There is always the opportunity to become more Christ-like in love.
As we begin this New Year, all of us could do more. We could take advantage of the opportunities to be blessings to our neighbors. We could give more of our time to teach Sunday School, or to be a reading assistant at the elementary school, or to serve as a mentor. We could increase the percentage of our income that we give to charities. We could start to offer a few hours of our time to a local food pantry. We could join a study/discussion group that is reviewing the basic concepts of the faith. We could promise to read the whole Bible in one year. We could start keeping a prayer journal of our deepest questions and joys. There are so many things that we could do to advance our faith in Christ.
I urge you to take the time to prayerfully answer John Wesley’s question: “Are you going on to perfection in love?” Let’s do all we can to advance our faith in 2019!