September 2011-Moving On to Perfection
September traditionally is the time when local church programming shifts into high gear, worship hits high notes as choirs return from summer break and children are more in evidence, adding to our joy.
Often adult Sunday School classes and small groups also begin new studies or shift their focus a bit. But while children and youth may move on to new challenges that help them grow in their Christian understanding, I wonder how many of us adults are being stretched in our discipleship rather than staying comfortable—just the way we are.
The apostle Paul writes, “Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. “(Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV.) I like the image of a race and the starting line. It is exactly the way that we can understand what John Wesley called a way of Salvation.
Accepting and entering into a relationship with Christ is only a beginning. It is a starting line; not an end point to our walk of faith. As we come into relationship with Christ, our lives are transformed, but we have a long way to go.
Our discipleship is strengthened as we connect with God and connect with others on this spiritual journey. God continues to call us into a perfect life, and our understanding of what this means grows deeper. The scriptures tell us to “be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)
There is always more to be done as our discipleship moves from serving others in our communities and mission fields to inviting them into a relationship with Christ.
How are you challenging yourself to grow into perfection this year? How do you connect with God? How are you connecting with others? How are you serving Christ as you serve others in your mission field.
This Fall, I invite you to run. Don’t just settle for a Christian walk of mediocrity. Venture outside your comfort zone. Run the race that is set before you, and, most importantly, run with God.
By the Rev. Gregory Cox, Director of Connectional Ministries