"Becoming what?" you might ask. A fireman when I grow up? A waste processor fertilizing fields? No, I don’t mean that.
Let me get at what I mean in a roundabout way. Listening to a message from DHVC that I downloaded off the internet the other day, I heard Aaron use the phrase ‘conduct unbecoming an officer.’ It got me thinking about this word ‘becoming.’ How did it begin to get used in reference to behaviour?
I recall the old English use of ‘comely,’ as in 1 Samuel 16.18 referring to David as ‘wholesome, and pleasing in appearance.’ I don’t know that there’s any link in this to ‘becoming’ (see the definition at http://www.thefreedictionary.com/comely), but I kind of like the idea if it does. In this sense, ‘becoming’ conduct isn’t perfect conduct, but consistent conduct, conduct that is attractive, wholesome, healthy, and maturing.
As I was thinking about this, I happened to read a chapter in Gordon MacDonald’s book A Resilient Life. He quotes Thomas Merton: "If you want to identify me, ask me now where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I think I am living for, in detail, and ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully the thing I want to live for. Between these two answers you can determine the identity of any person. The better answer he has, the more of a person he is. "
This speaks to having a vision of what life is all about, and how one addresses the obstacles that come along the way. And how one addresses those obstacles is all about becoming.
MacDonald then goes on later to write: ‘In the lives of the disciples, it is clear that there was an invitation to follow, which the disciples accepted. But one sees relatively little attention paid to the beginning and far more attention placed on what the disciples were becoming.’
‘Becoming’ behaviour, then, focuses on a dynamic process rather than a static and lifeless state of being. It doesn’t require a moment of perfection, but a journey of progress where there may well be one step back for every two. It is reflected in the question ‘Am I growing more loving toward God and toward people?’
Am I indeed becoming the kind of person whom God and people would enjoy being with forever?