In his preaching, teaching and writing, founder of the Methodist movement, John Wesley (1703-1791) challenged the earliest Methodists with a series of 21 questions intended to strip away pretense, expose the motives of the heart, and lead toward holiness.
Join in The Wesley Challenge: 21 Days to a More Authentic Faith sermon and study series, based on the book by Chris Folmsbee. Each day raises a question and presents scripture, topics for reflection and a challenge.
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Click here to read more about the challenge.
Am I proud?
Chapter 8 in The Wesley Challenge
You are the one who created my innermost parts; you knit me together while I was still in my mother’s womb. I give thanks to you that I was marvelously set apart. Your works are wonderful—I know that very well. Psalm 139:13-14
1. Where in my life do I mask insecurities with pride?
2. What are my strengths from God’s perspective?
3. What will I leave behind in one thousand years?
Ask a trusted friend or mentor to share their opinion of your three biggest strengths and three biggest areas of improvement.
Do I give time for the Bible to speak to me every day?
Chapter 7 in The Wesley Challenge
Because God’s word is living, active, and sharper than any two-edged sword. It penetrates to the point that it separates the soul from the spirit and the joints from the marrow. It’s able to judge the heart’s thoughts and intentions. Hebrews 4:12
1. Do you struggle with finding the time or taking the time to read the Bible each day? Or is your challenge more about understanding and interpreting what you’ve read?
2. How has God spoken to you through the Bible? Has God spoken to you in a different way, such as music or prayer, or through another person?
Devote 20 minutes to reading one of the Gospels today. Approach the time with an open mind and heart. Listen for God’s voice as you read and reflect. What did you hear?
Do I pray about the money I spend?
Chapter 6 in The Wesley Challenge
1. What were your thoughts as you read Wesley’s statement: “Gain all you can, save all you can, give all you can”? Were you surprised by any part of the quote?
Bless someone with your money today. Make the amount significant enough that it will feel like a sacrifice to you. Have the money ready in your pocket or purse so that you can act when the moment presents itself. Don’t second-guess yourself. Act.
Did I disobey God in anything?
Chapter 5 in The Wesley Challenge
You must walk the precise path that the Lord your God indicates for you so that you will live, and so that things will go well for you, and so you will extend your time on the land that you will possess. —Deuteronomy 5:33
1. In what areas of my life am I choosing my own desires over God’s desires?
2. Where can I find help in overcoming my shortcomings?
3. How can I use the freedom that God has granted me to worship God?
Sometime today, spend a few minutes reflecting on your life. In what areas of your life are you intentionally living for your own self rather than for God’s glory? After determining the area or areas of disobedience in your life, tell God you are sorry. Also, tell one of your Christian friends what you are struggling with so this person can offer you accountability, help and support.
Did the Bible live in me today?
Chapter 4 in The Wesley Challenge
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vineyard keeper. 2 He removes any of my branches that don’t produce fruit, and he trims any branch that produces fruit so that it will produce even more fruit. 3 You are already trimmed because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. A branch can’t produce fruit by itself, but must remain in the vine. Likewise, you can’t produce fruit unless you remain in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, then you will produce much fruit. Without me, you can’t do anything. 6 If you don’t remain in me, you will be like a branch that is thrown out and dries up. Those branches are gathered up, thrown into a fire, and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified when you produce much fruit and in this way prove that you are my disciples. —John 15:1-8
1. How do you let the Bible live in you each day?
2. Has your view of the Bible changed throughout your life? Do you value the Bible differently, or relate to it differently, than you did when you were younger?
Keep a Bible with you at all times today. Let it serve as a reminder of God’s desire to be with you in every moment of your day. When you have a few free moments, use them to engage with Scripture.
Do I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?
Chapter 3 in The Wesley Challenge
From now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise. —Philippians 4:8 (CEB)
1. Do you have areas of your life that are causing you an uneasy conscience? What are these weaknesses?
2. Dig deeply—what is driving these temptations in your life? What steps can you put into place to combat the temptations you are facing?
Tell a trusted friend about a temptation you are struggling with. Name it, and ask for your friend’s help in holding you accountable in working to overcome what is causing your “uneasy conscience.”
Am I enjoying prayer?
Chapter 2 in The Wesley Challenge
Jesus told them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, uphold the holiness of your name. Bring in your kingdom. Give us the bread we need for today. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who has wronged us. And don’t lead us into temptation.’” — Luke 11:2-4 (CEB)
1. Were you taught how to pray as a child? If so, who taught you, and what were you instructed to do?
2. What kind of routine or schedule do you currently follow in your prayer life?
3. Think about a time when you prayed in earnest. What were the circumstances surrounding that time of prayer? What did you feel when the prayer was completed?
Memorize this one sentence prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Repeat the sentence throughout the day, saying it more than once each time you pray it.
Is Jesus real to me?
Chapter 1 in The Wesley Challenge
1. When has Jesus seemed the most real to you in your life? The least real? What were those circumstances?
2. How can you make Jesus seem more real to you now? What discipleship practices can you put into place in your life to become a more deeply committed Christian?
3. Who has been the Philip in your life, helping you to understand the good news about Jesus? Are you fulfilling that role in someone else's life?
Make Jesus real for someone you come in contact with today. Notice the needs of people around you with a heightened awareness, and then bravely act as Christ would act.