John Wesley wrote and preached a sermon titled, “A More Excellent Way”. It was based on 1 Corinthians 12:31
But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way. (NASB)
His point is that we can live our life following Jesus in a variety of ways – we can do enough to prove ourselves believers, or we could live life in a more excellent way with a deeper devotion. I read that sermon many years ago and thought I understood it. I realized today I didn’t really get it.
So what happened to change my understanding? Christmas happened.
I was in worship on December 20th as the Asbury UMC praise band brought a contemporary cantata. I heard the band play this compilation of songs in the past, but this time there was a new dimension – a violin. And I can tell you when it really hit me, it was during the song “Deliver Me”. The violin brought a deeper, underlying strength to the song, which I loved without the violin. And that’s my point. I loved the song without the violin – but they made it a more excellent song. It had more depth. It was more emotive. It was more enjoyable.
As I thought about that song and that experience I began to understand more of what Wesley meant. We can live as believers at a level of life that’s good, enjoyable, God-pleasing. But, we also have the choice to move into a new dimension – on that has more depth, more emotion, more joy.
What makes that change happen? A deeper devotion. It’s not just going to church on Sunday, it’s starting the day with our own time of prayer and worship and bringing that with us as we join others at the church. It’s not just about owning a Bible but reading it with a heart that desires to know the real truth. It’s not just doing something God would like, but finding that purpose that God has for you – living and serving with passion.
The music without the violin was nice, but it was “more excellent music” when that change was made. Our life can be nice with a mild, simple devotion, but we can also live a “more excellent way”. The choice is ours. Personally I need more violin.
Holy high five to you, Mike