We aren't born to stay the way we are. But how many times have we looked around us in dismay at the lack of spiritual maturity in fellow believers? It is evident in the rising rate of divorces among Christian couples. We find it in the high percentages of Christians, even pastors, who regularly view pornography. And we face it each time a well-known leader in the Christian community is found in sexual sin or handling finances dishonestly. Perhaps you have struggled with your own character issues for years, even decades, to little avail. There is good news. In Renovation of the Heart best-selling author Dallas Willard calls it "the transformation of the spirit" - a divine process that "brings every element in our being, working from inside out, into harmony with the will of God or the kingdom of God." In the transformation of our spirits, we become apprentices of Jesus Christ.
As Christians, we know that we are new creations in Jesus. So we try to act differently, hoping this will make us more like Him. But changing our outward behavior doesnt change our hearts. Only by Gods grace can we be transformed internally. Renovation of the Heart lays a biblical foundation for understanding what best-selling author Dallas Willard calls the transformation of the spirita divine process that brings every element in our being, working from inside out, into harmony with the will of God.
This fresh approach to spiritual growth explains the biblical reasons why Christians need to undergo change in six aspects of life: thought, feeling, will, body, social context, and soul. Willard also outlines a general pattern of transformation in each area, not as a sterile formula but as a practical process that you can follow without the guilt or perfectionism so many Christians wrestle with.
Dont settle for complacency. Accept the challenge Renovation of the Heart offers to become an intentional apprentice of Jesus Christ, changing daily as you walk with Him.
Willard (The Divine Conspiracy), a professor of philosophy at the University
of Southern California who is also a Southern Baptist minister, here tackles
the central Christian question of how to be more like Christ. He claims that
the church's failures throughout history are a result of Christians' reading
biblical passages that adjure them to Christ-like perfection and then trying
to reach that perfection by behaving more perfectly. Instead, he argues that
believers should allow God to transform them internally so that their actions,
though never quite perfect, will at least be more aligned with God. Willard
delineates six areas of such transformation thought, feeling, will, body,
social context and soul and delineates a general process toward transforming
each. The book's chapters are divided into very short subsections, which,
especially in the first four chapters, are inchoate as Willard struggles to
explain exactly what the "heart" is and why it is important. Though trained as
a philosopher, he does not explicate philosophical discussions over, for
example, human nature, settling instead for saying that "we cannot deal with
[them] here." Such a position contributes to the book's early incoherence and
to a consistent lack of support, and, therefore, power. However, many
evangelicals will appreciate his fresh and less guilt-ridden approach to
Christian spiritual growth. The book is heavily Bible-based, provides
discussion questions and includes a chapter on spiritually transforming
congregations as well as individuals. (May) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business
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