“‘The most important thing God gets out of your life is the person you become’ (Dallas Willard). The person you become is largely unseen, although that person is constantly leaking out of your facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice when you are not trying to manage your appearance. The person you become is what you will take with you into eternity – which is currently in session and inviting you to walk on in.” (John Ortberg in the Afterword for Gary Moon’s book, Becoming Dallas Willard).
What a relief! My job is not to convert every non-believer I meet. My job is not to worry anxiously about doing the will of God. My job is not first to drive every sin from my life – or anyone else’s life. My job is not to end world poverty. My job is only to become me, the person I was created to be. And that’s what God wants from you as well.
Not that this is an easy task! It is a difficult, lifelong journey which requires effort, training, and commitment. It does help explain, however, some of our thorniest theo- logical issues. For example, becoming me often requires my rubbing up against or step- ping into or being nearly overwhelmed with pain and suffering (which answers “Why does God allow suffering?”). Becoming me involves imitating Jesus, giving control of my life to God, and welcoming, listening, and obeying the Holy Spirit (which answers “What is the purpose of a three-in-one God?”). Becoming me involves risking relationships with diverse and not always lovely people (which answers “Why do we need community?”).
Becoming me means creating my best self. This adventure hinges upon my awareness and commitment to the moral code and philosophy of life as found in Scripture. Also crucial to becoming my best self is a willingness to root out all the deviations to that moral code and choosing to follow a different path than my selfish and needy ego may direct me to.
Becoming me means finding my gifts, developing my intellectual and emotional muscles, being willing to absorb God’s presence through silence and solitude – and then taking all that into a world that desperately needs who I am. So yes, it will mean relating my faith to those who share my journey. It will involve living out the will of God. And, of course, it will mean confronting sin and evil in the world around me. And yes, it will involve my participation in ending world poverty, or child trafficking, or illiteracy, or political depravity – or whatever cause I am led to. But, as Dallas Willard teaches us, those activities are not our first purpose; they are the result of who we become.
The best motivator for becoming me is John Ortberg’s delightful statement that “the person you become is what you will take with you into eternity – which is currently in session and inviting you to walk on in.” What more motivation for spiritual formation could there be?