Our January worship series at Northside United Methodist Church is entitled All In! We are exploring what it means to love God with ALL of our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:28-31).
Consider these questions: What would our lives, families, church, and community look like if we went All In for God? What changes would we have to make in our lives? What would we need to start doing? What would we need to stop doing?
John Wesley believed that God raised up the people called Methodists to spread scriptural holiness throughout the land. He emphasized the call to Christian perfection in each disciple’s life.
To this day, United Methodist clergy are asked the following questions at ordination:
- Have you faith in Christ?
- Are you going on to perfection?
- Do you expect to be made perfect in love in this life?
- Are you earnestly striving after it?
- Are you resolved to devote yourself wholly to God and his work?
After thirty-five years of ministry, I must confess my commitment to these standards varies on a regular basis. On my best days, I come close to approximating an affirmative response to Wesley’s questions. On my worst days, I fail abysmally.
I appreciate the apostle John’s words which reflect both the goal and reality of Christian discipleship. He begins by writing: My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. Then the prophet turns pastor as he continues: But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ the Righteous One (1 John 2:1-2).
The goal is to become perfect in loving God and others. The reality is our daily lives. However, the latter never excuses us from pursuing the former with our entire being.
After asking if ordinands were going on to perfection, Bishop William Cannon would pause and add: If you’re not moving towards perfection, then which direction are you headed?
The Holy Spirit woos, calls, nags, and challenges us to go ALL IN for God.
Which direction are you headed? A question I am currently struggling with on a number of levels. This helps simplify it a bit. Thanks.