Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Growing Up in the Faith

For the next two Sundays, I am going to focus on the idea of growing up in the faith.  As easy as that phrase might sound, it involves two particular aspects that are not easy:  Christian maturity and discipleship.

Maturity is difficult enough.  Christian maturity is something that is also quite difficult. In the United Methodist tradition, one of the goals for the church community (collectively and individually) is to continue to grow into the likeness of Christ.  It is a lifetime journey and each step along that journey is a step into Christian maturity.

It should be said, though, that the journey is not an easy one.  If it were, I wouldn't have books on my shelves called "Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White", "Barriers to Christian Belief", and "Finding Our Way Again."  It seems easy enough, but it takes a level of discipline and discipline takes deliberate choices.

The journey of faith is a journey where we attempt to grow in Christian and spiritual maturity.  We call that "Discipleship."  Christian Discipleship is the way of living that follows the life and teachings of Christ.  A disciple is one who follows and learns from a teacher.  So if we consider ourselves disciples of Christ, then it is Christ who is our teacher.  That also means that we would be those who seek to emulate Christ in who we are and what we do.

In the church, the goal of discipleship is to form people into the image of Christ and to "let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5).  And it is more than just "Jesus and Me."  It is about being a member of a community of disciples.

I hope that you will join us these next two weeks as we look at growing up in the faith and what it means to live a life that demonstrates Christ to those whom we encounter.

- Grace and Peace,
Rev. Charles Ensminger

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