Michael Phillips, in his thought-provoking book Bold Thinking Christianity writes in part:
Not only are we short-sighted, we are accomplishment, experience, and pleasure driven. Affluent western modernism has infected us with a false sense of what is good and worthwhile. These three elements bring that faulty imbalance into stark clarity.
What can I get done?
What do I want to experience?
How can I carve out more time for personal leisure and pleasure?
These are the three pillars of twentieth and now now twenty-first century mankind’s frame of reference toward life—doing, experiencing, enjoying.
To these three I add a counterbalance: What am I becoming?
I think a lot about what I am becoming as a result of my moment-by-moment choices. (Including the choice of how I will use my mind!) We are all living thoughts of our heavenly Father in that he had something uniquely specific in mind when he created each of us. I want very much to grow up into a good son who reflects Father’s initiating thought when he brought me to life. My choices—all the big, little, and in-between ones—they all lead me either closer or farther away from the Divine idea. Sobering…
It has been my sense that the purpose of life is to learn how to love—God, and the “neighbor” he brings near. While this remains a goal of paramount importance, I have altered my thinking a bit to reframe the purpose statement thus: To become the unique son or daughter God had in mind when he created us as his child.
We do this by following as hard as we may on the heels of our Elder Brother and Lord, Jesus Christ, who shows us the Father and is the living way to the end we seek. Our “following hard” must take the form of doing what the Lord commands through the help of the Spirit. It is in this “becoming” that we learn how to love, to the point where love is no longer what we “do” but, like Father, it is what we have become.
Of course, I can’t imagine such an achievement in this mortal life of ours. But I don’t discount that it must be so somewhere in eternity…