Understanding How God Changes Lives (Dallas Willard)

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Understanding How God Changes Lives (Dallas Willard)

Message non lu par DanielGarneau » jeu. 20 oct. 2016, 5:31 am

Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives. "[...] The new person and the new world for which humanity constantly seeks is the overriding theme of the biblical writings, culminating in the person and Kingdom of Jesus. To experience the newness of life in Jesus' Kingdom, we need only to put into practice what confidence we have in him, observe the outcome, and learn how to do better what we believe he should have us do. His way is self-validating to anyone who will openly and persistently put it into practice. The Spirit of Disciplines tries to show how this may be done in our day. [...]" (March 1999 Foreword).

The aim of this thread would be to jot down interesting quotes or provide summaries of my own reading of The Spirit of the Disciplines in such a way as to encourage feedback from participants of like mind. It is my understanding that the effort required of such give-and-take is profitable to better assimilate, understand, and apply what one learns through reading a book on his or her own.

How would you respond to Dallas Willard's own summary of The Spirit of the Disciplines published at dwillard.org?

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Re: Understanding How God Changes Lives (Dallas Willard)

Message non lu par DanielGarneau » jeu. 20 oct. 2016, 6:01 am

Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives. "I believe our present difficulty is one of misunderstanding how our experiences and actions enable us to receive the grace of God. There is a deep longing among Christians and non-Christians alike for the personal purity and power to live as our hearts tell us we should. What we need is deeper insight into our practical relationship with God in redemption. We need an understanding that can guide us into constant interaction with the Kingdom of God as a real part of our daily lives, an ongoing spiritual presence that is at the same time a psychological reality. In other words, we must develop a psychologically sound theology of the spiritual life and of its disciplines to guide us" (Preface, p. x-xi).

How do you respond to the above statement from Dallas Willard's The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives?

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Re: Understanding How God Changes Lives (Dallas Willard)

Message non lu par DanielGarneau » jeu. 20 oct. 2016, 6:24 am

Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives. "The Spirit of the Disciplines is nothing but the love of Jesus, with its resolute will to be like him whom we love. In the fellowship of the burning heart, 'exercise unto godliness' is our way of receiving ever more fully the grace in which we stand, rejoicing in the hope of the glory of God (Rom. 5:2)" (p. xii).

How do you respond to the above statement from Dallas Willard's The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives?

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Re: Understanding How God Changes Lives (Dallas Willard)

Message non lu par DanielGarneau » jeu. 20 oct. 2016, 11:23 am

Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives. "A successful performance at a moment of crisis rests largely and essentially upon the depths of a self wisely and rigorously prepared in the reality of its being - mind and body" (p. 4).

How do you respond to the above statement from Dallas Willard's The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives?

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Re: Understanding How God Changes Lives (Dallas Willard)

Message non lu par DanielGarneau » jeu. 20 oct. 2016, 1:06 pm

In ch. 1, «The Secret of the Easy Yoke», of The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives (p. 1-10), Dallas Willard establishes the basis of the thesis of his entire book on the premise that Jesus' words in Matthew 11:29-30 and 1 John 5:3 are true.

Let us refresh our minds and hearts with these passages by simply quoting them:
  • Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matthew 11:29-30, NIV).
  • In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome (1 John 5:3, NIV).
Dallas Willard argues that if we do not get to the point where we find it easy to follow Christ as these two passages of Scripture suggest we should, it is due to the fact that there is something very central to Christianity that we have not come to understand.

Do you sometimes wonder if perhaps your understanding of Christianity might be lacking some key features that would help you move beyond some of the roadblocks that you are facing? Why not pray to our All Loving God to guide you towards His tailor-made growth. Feel free to share with the rest of us one step God has led you to take in the direction pointed to by this discussion thread.

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Re: Understanding How God Changes Lives (Dallas Willard)

Message non lu par DanielGarneau » ven. 21 oct. 2016, 7:21 am

From Willard's ch. 1, «The Secret of the Easy Yoke», The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives (p. 1-10), what is it that went wrong, and hinders obedience from naturally flowing from our lives, causing Jesus' yoke to be felt as as a burden ?

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Re: Understanding How God Changes Lives (Dallas Willard)

Message non lu par DanielGarneau » ven. 21 oct. 2016, 8:15 am

In chapter 1, «The Secret of the Easy Yoke», of The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives (p. 1-10), Dallas Willard made the following statement: "The secret of the easy yoke is simple, actually. It is the intelligent, informed, unyielding resolve to live as Jesus lived in all aspects of his life, not just in the moment of specific choice or action" (p. 10).

How could the above quote become an answer for us to the question "What hinders obedience from naturally flowing from our lives?"

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Re: Understanding How God Changes Lives (Dallas Willard)

Message non lu par DanielGarneau » ven. 21 oct. 2016, 3:37 pm

From ch. 2, «Making Theology of the Disciplines Practical», of The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives, how would you respond to Willard's statement: "Our very zeal and success in this area [of evangelism] may deflect us from an adequate emphasis upon the understanding and practice of growth in Christlikeness after conversion" (p. 15, author's italics)?

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Re: Understanding How God Changes Lives (Dallas Willard)

Message non lu par DanielGarneau » lun. 24 oct. 2016, 10:38 pm

From ch. 2, «Making Theology of the Disciplines Practical», of The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives:

People currently attending the typical evangelical Church in the author's country do not find a reliable set of tools to steadily grow in their quest toward a life lived under the sign of personal maturity. « By contrast, says Dallas Willard, the secret of the standard, historically proven spiritual disciplines is precisely that they do respect and count on the bodily nature of human personality. They all deeply and essentially involve bodily conditions and activities. Thus they show us effectively how we can 'offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable unto God' and how our 'spiritual worship' (Rom. 12:1) really is inseparable from the offering up of our bodies in specific physical ways » (Dallas Willard, p. 19, author's italics).

A bit further in the book, the author writes: «True character transformation begins, we are taught to believe, in the pure grace of God and is continually assisted by it. Very well. But action is also indispensable in making the Christian truly a different kind of person -- one having a new life in which, as 2 Corinthians 5:17 states, 'Old things have passed away and, behold, all things become new.' Failure to act in certain definite ways will guarantee that this transformation does not come to pass» (p. 20, author's italics).

How do the above quotes stimulate you to learn more about spiritual disciplines and to engage in them?

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Re: Understanding How God Changes Lives (Dallas Willard)

Message non lu par DanielGarneau » mar. 22 nov. 2016, 10:09 am

Chapters 1 through 9 of Dr. Dallas Willard's The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives provide a psychologically sound understanding of how believers are to correlate their responsibility to grow in Christ with the theological statements of the Bible to the effect that it is the Holy Spirit of God who operates needed transformation in one's life.

The measures we take to grow into God's grace through the power of the spirit are of no value in and of themselves, but only insofar as they are means that we can adopt on a regular basis to help us train to develop the abilities required to live as God wants us to. This statement is true of what has been called by some «means of grace» and by others «disciplines of the spiritual life». It follows from this that one should not attempt to add to his repertoire of spiritual tools as many of these disciplines as possible. Instead, one should chose those that help him most based on his particular spiritual struggles and specific situation in life.

That being said, Dr Willard suggests to think in terms of disciplines of abstinence (or omission) and disciplines of engagement. Among the first group one would find disciplines such as solitude, silence, fasting, frugality, chastity, secrecy and sacrifice; while the second group would include disciplines such as study, worship, celebration, service, prayer, fellowship, confession, submission (chapter 9).

Which one or two of these disciplines do you find most useful to your growing into maturity towards the knowledge of Christ? Why ?

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