The constant undertow of pleasure, self-centeredness, and vanity draws us away from a life of meaning and consequence. How do we fight against these foes? To fight them directly, or head on, can be an exercise in futility. We never transcend our problems by focusing on them. We have to realize (and believe) that there is a overarching intention in life, generally, and in our lives, specifically. What are we / what am I called to do or be? It’s important to take onboard that your creation was, and is, intentional. Surely you were made for more than just what you can produce…. Right? I think so.
And it’s more than the old dualistic struggle, do or be. Add a third element, or leg to the table, so to speak, and you will gain enough stability to stand. What is that third leg I am suggesting?
In order to be, you must become.
Who are you becoming?
This has to do with the consequences of choice, or decisions, on the trajectory and ultimate result of your existence. You will be who you are becoming. Does that thought alarm you, or reassure you? Don’t be deceived, this is the way it works.
Life is incremental, as is wisdom, and also lunacy. We embrace peril when we fail to take on board the importance of decisions, and not just the big ones, but the daily ones, as well…
Are you becoming who you want to be? Serious question, and tho important, perhaps not the most important.
Are you becoming Christlike? This is essential. Perhaps the most important question of the kind you will entertain in life.
The essence of this struggle, in it’s infancy, is surrender. We have to realize that there is in us a strong and resistant thread of self life, which is rebellion. To start our journey or Christlikeness, we are needing to realize we must “lay down our arms.” The ongoing journey becomes less about surrender, and more about learning how to work cooperatively. How do we cooperate with the Lord? We have to grow in our knowledge of Him, as in any relationship.
Over time, and exercise, we grow and gain capacity to discern the Lord’s leadership, and we have to keep in mind, everything and every motive is brought into the open by what it produces, just as a tree is known by its fruit. And keep in mind, the process of fruit production isn’t always immediate. Sometimes, or perhaps most often, fruit (and fruitfulness) takes time.
It’s also helpful, from time to time, to pause and examine your life. What am I producing? Who am I becoming? Who do I want to be? Am I headed in that direction?
If we are training our sights on Christlikeness, the occasional (but ongoing) act of self-examination, is essential.
Nevertheless, we (ourselves / myself) will not, regardless of progress or fruitfulness, become the standard by which true worth is measured. The standard is Jesus Christ, and Him crucified, and resurrected. “Aim small, miss small” as someone once famously said.
My emphasis in these thoughts is that, wherever you are in the process, to encourage you to take heart for the journey ahead, and that you not be deceived or entangled. You are created in the image of God with incredible potential, both for fruitfulness and for Christlikeness. God created you because He saw in Himself something He wanted to emphasize. Let’s be careful not to forget that life is more than doing. There is a tensional (but not combative) relationship between who we are, who we are becoming, and what we are doing, and they are intended to work together to bring us to a life of maturity in Christ. Such a life is promised to us, and let’s be careful not to come short of it!