I want you to think about something Gregory Boyd wrote:
“Moral culpability is not just about people acting certain ways when they could have and should have acted differently. It’s more about people becoming certain kinds of people when they could have and should have become different kinds of people” (Satan and the Problem of Evil; p. 122).
Here is the thought that I have been thinking about this afternoon as I prepare for leadership camp next week: The Church needs to encourage people to become a different kind people. People who have their minds set on heavenly things rather than earthly things (Colossians 3:1-4), people who walk by the Spirit rather than by the flesh (Galatians 5:16-26), and people live humbly putting others ahead of themselves (Philippians 2:1-11).
How can we do this? First, we emphasis the fact that God in His great love for us has opened up for us the way of redemption, and that way is Jesus (Romans 5:6-11). We need to always remember that without God’s love and initiative we would have no hope. Our ability to become new people, Kingdom people, depends on God’s intervention in our lives. If we miss this truth then we miss the foundation of the Gospel.
Second, we need to pray for our children, students, and others that we have influence with. This is the example that the apostle gives in Colossians 1:9-12. The reason Paul prays for the Colossians is so that they will be the type of people who will honor Christ Jesus. We need to pray for people to be filled with a knowledge of God’s will and with spiritual wisdom and knowledge so they can become people who honor Jesus with the way they live.
Lastly, we need to give people tools, methods, and disciplines to help them train in godliness (1 Timothy 4:7). If we were honest we would have to admit that our process of discipleship isn’t working. Our church families are not filled with people becoming more and more like Christ Jesus. In fact, I would wager, many of us having given up on true transformation taking place, and we are content with a little behavior modification. We need to help people understand that they are responsible for their spiritual growth and that the spiritual disciplines such as meditation, prayer, worship, service, fasting, solitude, and celebration are ways in which we can train our bodies to ignore the pull of the flesh and to follow the Spirit.
Each one of us is in the process of becoming. We are either becoming a more human and thus fit for God’s Kingdom or we are becoming less human and thus fit for the kingdom of darkness. Are choices play an essential part in this process. We are called to do all that we can to help people make the right choices.