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John Wesley on Prayer Lesson 33

*God will do greater things

Do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

Ephesians 5:17 NIV

The inward kingdom of heaven, set up in the hearts of all who repent and believe the gospel, is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. But these are only the firstfruits. While these blessings are inconceivably great, yet we must trust to see greater.

We trust to love the Lord our God not only as we do now, with a weak though sincere affection, but with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. Indeed, we expect to be “made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18 NKJV). We look for power to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in everything. We believe the whole mind will be in us that was in Christ Jesus (see Philippians 2:5). And we expect to be cleansed from all our idols and saved from all our uncleanness, inward or outward (see Ezekiel 36:29)—to be purified, as He is pure.

We look for such an increase in the experiential knowledge and love of God our Savior as will enable us always to walk in the light as he is in the light. We trust in His promise who cannot lie that the time will surely come when all we do shall be done to the glory of God.

The grand device of Satan is to destroy the first work of God in our souls, or at least to hinder its increase, by our expectation of that greater work. Yet there are ways to retort these fiery darts and rise the higher by what he intends for our falling.

*From How to Pray: The Best of John Wesley on Prayer, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.

In this thirty-third lesson on prayer, Wesley draws from his desire that Christians continue to grow in their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. His basic premise in this lesson seems to be that although what we have received, the first fruits, are very good, we must trust the Lord for even greater things.

The scripture reference for this lesson is Ephesians 5:17. Let us read from verse 1 to get a sense of the context of this verse.

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. 3 But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; 4 and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them; 8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light 9 (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; 12for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. 13But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. 14For this reason it says, ” Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.” 15Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:1-17 NASB).

Verses 15 and 16 happen to be life verses for me; I go back to them time and time again. This is what I have learned from them. If we would truly be careful how and where we walk, many of the problems of the flesh Paul mentions would have no place in us. Although we are children of light, we must continually walk in His light so that any unfruitful deeds of darkness are exposed and have no power to remain in us.  The days we live in are evil, no doubt. So, in redeeming our time, we must trust in the Lord that “the time will surely come when all we do shall be done to the glory of God.”


Published by doctorpaddy

An ordained minister, Christian communicator, and educator.

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