Graduation & Who You’re Becoming || Pete Tegeler

Posted on June 8th, by Pete Tegeler in Hand. 4 comments

Graduation & Who You’re Becoming || Pete Tegeler

Who am I becoming?

This past Sunday was  graduation Sunday at my church.  Our youth pastor shared with the graduates that, while most of the world is interested in what they will do (What college? What major? Or if you’re graduating from college: What job? Where?), our church was interested in who they are becoming.

It’s a great distinction.  As Christians, we recognize that our goals are not centered around diplomas and GPAs, but about living in the likeness of Christ.  What’s the likeness of Christ?  It’s the image of the One who gave himself absolutely and unconditionally for others.

It’s no small call to live in that likeness.  More often than not, I find that if I am going to be made into the likeness of Christ, I want to do it apart from others.  However, apart from others, we are not really being spiritually formed.  It’s not really spiritual formation at all.  It’s some kind of individualistic, privatized formation that is really closer to self-actualization.  It might look nice, and it’s probably more comfortable, but formation is not healing and life-giving and redemptive if it’s not alongside others.

Here’s how I mean that.  When there are areas in my life that are not conformed to Jesus, I am not able to be the person God asks me to be in my relationships with others.  When I’m not conformed to Jesus, my capacity to be Jesus to the people around me is limited.  Perhaps I am even being destructive.

I’m talking about the areas of our lives where I am the boss and Jesus isn’t – the places where my wants win.  When those areas exist, our relationships with others are controlled, not by the likeness of Jesus, but by our own wants and needs.  It’s then that, in our relationships, we become manipulative as we impose our needs and try to get our way.  And too often, when things don’t go our way, we abandon the relationship entirely.

As M. Robert Mulholland Jr. says,

If you want a good litmus test of your spiritual growth, simply examine the nature and quality of your relationships with others.  Are you more loving, more compassionate, more patient, more understanding, more caring, more giving, more forgiving than you were a year ago?

These are helpful questions for us to ask, because they help us to evaluate how we are growing to be like Jesus.

The Bible makes the connection between faith and loving others when it states in 2 Thessalonians 1:

Your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.

Sometimes I find myself thinking that I’ve got to get all the spiritual matters of my life dealt with in the privacy of my personal relationship with God.  Once I’ve got it taken care of, I can go and be that Christian person in my relationships with others.  But we are formed into the likeness of Christ in the midst of our relationships.  We learn to be like Jesus to others in the midst of others.

The danger here has to do with purpose.  Do I exist for my own perfection, or am I here for the sake of others?

If you are graduating, you’re probably getting asked a lot of questions about what you are going to do next.  It’s an exciting thing to consider what you will do, but remember, at the center of it is who you are and who you are becoming.

You might consider those questions again – consider who you were a year ago and ask:

  • Am I more loving?
  • More compassionate?
  • More patient?
  • More understanding?
  • More caring?
  • More giving?
  • More forgiving?

Did you like this post?  Be sure to check out Invitation to a Journey by M. Robert Mulholland Jr.

Pete Tegeler Pete Tegeler serves as a pastor in Bellingham, WA. If you were to stop by his house, you might find him singing nonsense songs or dancing in the kitchen with his wife Erin and their three girls. Follow him on Twitter @petetegeler.
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4 Responses to “Graduation & Who You’re Becoming || Pete Tegeler”

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