Lent Devotional | week six
John Wesley used the imagery of a house to explain the movement of God’s grace in our lives. He said that the front porch of the house was like God’s prevenient grace—the grace that goes before we realize we need grace at all. The front porch is welcoming for everyone who wants to come and sit for a while and talk. Wesley said that the front door of the house was like God’s justifying grace. It takes a decision to open the door of your house and let someone in. When we open the door and let someone in, we are welcoming them into our house and into our life. It is a deeper level than the front porch. This is what happens when we accept the gift of God’s grace and allow Jesus Christ into our lives by faith. We receive Jesus by grace through faith and Jesus comes into our lives as our Lord and Savior. Wesley then referred to the rest of the house as God’s sanctifying grace. When we allow Jesus into our life we begin at the front door. As we allow Jesus to be Lord over all of our life—every room of the house—we are sanctified, or made holy, with each room. The goal of sanctifying grace is what John Wesley referred to as entire sanctification, or Christian Perfection, where we are able to love God and neighbor as fully as Jesus did. Wesley recognized that Christian Perfection usually was only able to be achieved at the end of this life as we are heading toward eternity. It is possible, however, to give full reign of our life over to Jesus and be entirely sanctified.
I have always loved this imagery of the house. To me it explains at a deeper level what was going on in Jerusalem the day of Jesus’ miraculous entrance. You see there were a ton of front porch people there that day. They were curious and wanted to catch a glimpse of Jesus, who they thought was a prophet of God. They wanted to hang out on the front porch and get to know who this guy was that they had heard so much about. The only concern with that is that very, very few went to the front door. Hours after the entrance Jesus made into Jerusalem the crowds had dissipated and it was Jesus, the twelve disciples, and the closest disciples who had been following Jesus. The front porch was full that day, but very few people opened the front door and went into the house. Even fewer people actually allowed/received Jesus into the rest of the house. The twelve disciples—his closest friends—still were coming to grips with all that meant. They wouldn’t even fully comprehend what it meant until after Jesus’ crucifixion, death, and resurrection. Then they would understand fully what it meant to follow Jesus with all of their life. Where are you in the house? Are you and Jesus still hanging out on the front porch? Are you still having casual conversation with Jesus? Or perhaps you have opened the front door and, by God’s grace, placed your faith in Jesus Christ as the Lord of your life. Are you allowing Jesus into the living room? Maybe even the family room or kitchen? Where Jesus can get to know you even better, but not completely allowing him into every room of your house. Ultimately, the question for all of us is whether we have allowed Jesus full access to every room of our house/life. There are no hidden places, no closed doors, no stockpiles of things we don’t want anyone else to see—especially Jesus. Does Jesus have full and complete reign in our house and over our whole life? You see, Jesus wants to miraculously enter every part of your life and mine. We simply have to allow Him to do so. We have to welcome Jesus into every part of our life shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”
As you think about the miraculous power from Jesus pray over and answer these questions:
1. Have you been spending time getting as close as you can to Jesus?
2. Do you desire to have Jesus enter every part of your life?
3. What part of your life do you keep Jesus away?
4. How would your life be different if Jesus was allowed free reign over it all?
5. How does the possibility of Jesus miraculous entrance inform the way we pray and the way we live?
Almighty and living God, in your tender love for all of humanity you sent your only Son our Savior Jesus Christ to become in human form, to walk with humanity, to enter into Jerusalem as a celebrated messenger from you, to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility. Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his humility, his devotion to you, and his suffering so we will share in his resurrection. We pray this through the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Adapted from The Book of Common Prayer