Formation happens whether we’re intentional about it or not (Dallas Willard). The kind of formation depends a lot on our intentions. If we have no intentions, then our formation will not automatically morph into formation that reminds of Jesus.
Jesus called his disciples, and us, to “follow”. This following has everything to do with intent or as Jesus graphically invited us, “to take up our cross daily.” I think our Christian society is in a state of confusion on the implications of the last two sentences. I think a lot of people think Jesus said, “believe in me”. This believing, for many, involves almost no intentional activities or choices.
But Jesus is not the only one beckoning us to follow. We live in a consumer society wherein our external world bombards us with a myriad of following-options. In order to follow anything or anyone a decision has to be made. In our following we say yes to the One we follow and no to all else that is not following the same One. This is more than just a historic decision. Therefore Jesus invites us to be very intentional about this. We make the choice to follow on a daily basis. If we don’t, then that indecision is a choice in itself.
How do you make a daily choice?
CS Lewis described his rhythm like this:
The real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. it comes the very moment you wake up each morning. all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. and the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. and so on, all day. standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.
we can only do it for moments at first. but from those moments the new sort of life will be spreading through our system: because now we are letting Him work at the right part of us. it is the difference between paint,which is merely laid on the surface, and a dye or stain which soaks right through. he never talked vague, idealistic gas. when he said, “be perfect”, he meant it. he meant that we must go in for the full treatment. it is hard; but the sort of compromise we are hankering after is harder – in fact, it is impossible. it may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. we are like eggs at present. and you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. we must be hatched or go bad.