As the Lenten season begins this year I want to challenge you to enter a time of introspection and reflection on who you are and how you are loving your neighbor. This can be a fearsome task: to ask the same hard questions of ourselves that we often look for in others. I am reminded that Jesus called those present to him as he was giving the Sermon on the Mount to “first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.” Matthew 7:5 NRSV I need to examine my own life, my motives, my desires, and my actions before I examine the lives of others. My dear sweet Granny often reminded me to “sweep around my own doorstep before I start sweeping around someone else’s. She was telling me that maybe I had done as bad or worse than they had and needed to pay attention to myself before judging their actions. I call us this Lenten season to do just that; to do a vigorous examination of our lives before we examine others.
John Wesley believed this practice to be of such importance that he didn’t just require the members of the Holy Club to make examination during Lent but every day. Below are the questions Wesley required of those participating to answer for themselves. I offer these as a means of helping us all to examine our lives and find the places we need to grow during Lent in order to be ready to accept the grace of Christ when the resurrection is upon us.
As we move toward Easter, I hope we can find a deeper place of growth as we seek to become disciples of Jesus Christ and as we learn more fully to offer the grace, we have received from Him to others in our lives.
Holy Lord, Come and fill us with your grace. Open our eyes to the things in our own lives you desire us to change. Give us the strength to change and grow to be who you made us to be. Help us to offer grace more freely to those around us and to love them as you have loves us. Amen
These are 22 questions the members of John Wesley’s Holy Club asked
themselves every day in their private devotions over 200 years ago.
2. Am I honest in all my acts and words, or do I exaggerate?
3. Do I confidentially pass on to another what was told to me in confidence?
4. Can I be trusted?
5. Am I a slave to dress, friends, work, or habits?
6. Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?
7. Did the Bible live in me today?
8. Do I give it time to speak to me everyday?
9. Am I enjoying prayer?
10. When did I last speak to someone else about my faith?
11. Do I pray about the money I spend?
12. Do I get to bed on time and get up on time?
13. Do I disobey God in anything?
14. Do I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?
15. Am I defeated in any part of my life?
16. Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy, or distrustful?
17. How do I spend my spare time?
18. Am I proud?
19. Do I thank God that I am not as other people, especially as the Pharisees who despised the publican?
20. Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold a resentment toward or disregard? If so, what am I doing about it?
21. Do I grumble or complain constantly?
22. Is Christ real to me?