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This week’s theme for our All-Church Spiritual Growth Campaign is ‘Discipleship.’ The substance of this lesson is that we are created to become like Christ. We are created to become Holy – to become Whole. These two words are not just related phonetically. I was recently having a conversation with someone about integrity; the definition is ‘ the state of being whole; entire – undiminished.’ Integrity also comes from the word ‘integer’ – a whole number. A whole number includes both positive and negatives. This is what it means to be (W)Holy. In becoming like Christ, He almost always uses our darkest parts – our negative parts- as an opportunity to display his perfect power. (2nd Corinthians 12:9 – ‘…for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.) Many of us compartmentalize the difficult and ugly aspects of ourselves and lives – only showing what’s acceptable and polished, denying the pain and ignoring the hurt or whatever else we don’t want to face. When we put these pieces of our lives away on a shelf, or in the back of the closet, or wherever else they can remain in the dark, we are deciding to walk around as a ‘half-person. ’ Then, we naturally seek to fill that void with our own personalized programs for happiness, or --- we will take out pieces of other people in the attempt to become whole again. This week’s lesson tells us that it is precisely those things we don’t want to deal with ---our pain, our troubles, temptations, and trespasses (any wrongdoing, imperfections, personal defects, I could go on for a very long time about my experience with this…) that Christ uses to make us (W)Holy. To have integrity means to be integrated. We live in the truth of both the beauty and hardness of our lives. We have a saying in our 12-step groups – that we will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. I can testify to the power of this Christian Freedom and (W)Holiness. We live in a broken world. As Christians however, we are called to be (W)Holy. Discipleship is never about achieving perfection in this endeavor, but it is always about this constant progression to (W)Holiness. Someone told me this sounds a lot like psychology. And on some level it is. But becoming like Christ is a Holistic process – one that involves body, mind, and Spirit. Because when we choose to become more like Christ – we allow Him to build every aspect of our lives into His image. Romans 8:28 – In ALL THINGS, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.

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