To remain true to our Vision, we must revisit it regularly and recommit ourselves to it. And so the first worship series of the new year at Dayton UMC is "2020 Vision".
The Mission of Dayton UMC is the Mission of the United Methodist Church: To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Our Vision for accomplishing that Mission is to Know Christ, Grow Faith, and Go Witness.
Last week we considered how Know Christ means Deeper Intimacy with Him. Today we look at how Grow Faith means Deeper Integrity in Him.
Integrity comes from the Latin word integer, which means whole or a complete thing. An integer in math is a whole number, like one or seven or five. To have integrity is to be a whole person. To have integrity means the outside of our lives matches the inside. Integrity is the opposite of hypocrisy.
To Grow Faith means to grow in Deeper Integrity. It means to become a whole, restored, transformed person in Jesus Christ. It means trusting Jesus to the point of surrender of the false gods of life and living a life that is both whole (consistent with our deepest faith) and holy (set apart for the One to whom we have surrendered our lives).
So a personal commitment to Jesus Christ, asking Him into my heart to forgive my sin and giving my life to follow Him is not the end of Christian faith, it is only the beginning. Conversion begins a lifetime of growth in following Jesus and becoming more like Him. To Know Christ more intimately will necessarily mean we Grow Faith that results in deeper integrity in our lives. The love and grace we receive from Christ will more and more mark the living of our lives in Christ.
So here are some important questions: Am I growing deeper integrity as I walk with Jesus? As I Know Christ, do I also Grow Faith? Am I closer to Jesus today than I was five years ago? Is my life more like Him today than it was a year ago? Does the outside of my life match the inside? And most importantly, what will I have to surrender to go deeper?
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in The Cost of Discipleship, says this: “The Cross is not the terrible end to an otherwise God-fearing and happy life, but it meets us at the beginning of our communion with Christ. When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.”
When I die to myself, I live in Christ. When I surrender to Him, I find life in Him. What do I have to surrender to go deeper? Pride? Ego? Lust? Attachment to wealth? A past wound?
Like a trapeze artist, the only way to be caught by the One swinging on the other trapeze bar is to let go of the one I am holding onto and trust He will catch me. In surrender to Christ, we find freedom. We find wholeness. We find holiness. We find integrity.
I'm trying to learn to let go of what I cling to in order to fly into the strong hands of Jesus. How about you?