For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13)
Child psychologists refer to the various stages of human formation as infant, toddler, prepubescent, adolescence and young adult. After graduation from college, unless something significant happens, our formation is considered to be, for the most part, complete. That is, our values have become relatively concrete eyes; still moldable, but entrenched enough that they are difficult to change. All that seems to be left is to pour ourselves into a career and consider all the major character formation to be completed.
Christian development often works similarly. Many people accept Christ in their younger years, often with much elation. Then over time, the enthusiasm retreats as the reality of responsible adult life sets in. The aim of Christian living often becomes a balance between answering life’s demands and not losing Christ in the hubbub of daily life.
The world surrounds us with distractions and information, and we unfortunately become like the things on which we focus. The challenge is to remember that our hearts are hidden with Christ in God. A couple ways we attempt this are through the repetition of prayers and constant dialogue with God about the joys and frustrations of life, however trivial they may be. This keeps our minds on the invisible in the midst of the visible.
Part of the hope Christianity offers is that we are never completely formed. The wilderness and wandering shapes much of who we are, while God does the forming, pointing us to the template of Christ. And this crafting is always in progress.
And this growth provides us with hope. We are never fully there; in Christ, we are always growing, even in the most mundane circumstances. When the newness of life, careers and other responsibilities wears off, the light of Christ pushes us onward. Even as we complete the most boring of tasks, Christ is renewing and restoring us. Even as we simply rebel, Christ’s hand is there, so the Scriptures promise, holding us fast.
Formation is a delightfully hopeful process, because each days progress is a wonder. Each moment can be seen in the light of Christ. Each event guided by the hand of the Creator and Sustainer is providentially making us like Christ, fastening us in His image and transforming us into His character.
So, we can rest assured-God is always at work on our behalf, and we can embrace humility. After all, we are always in need of guidance and grace.
Thank You, Lord, that You are continually making me more like You. Renew me and restore me every day. As I drive, as I work, as I eat, form me into Your likeness.