"Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ" is a book that should excite the desire of every believer to realize in his own life the exquisite potential for the good God has in all of us. Having read Christian holiness literature, I come back to the truths which Willard touches on with a sense of reality that strikes me as good and great in God's order of things. In the past, tempted to believe a perfectionist paradigm of what Christian perfection or virtue is, there is a sense of it as being all too perfect and unattainable to be real. Willard brings it all into focus with great clarity and meaning by introducing the simple acrostic VIM: Vision, Intention and Means.
Dallas Willard's "Renovation of the Heart" continues his insightful and practical presentation of spiritual growth begun with "The Spirit of the Disciplines" and "The Divine Conspiracy." His sub-title explains his focus: "Putting on the Character of Christ." Many Christian approaches to spirituality fail to address human psychological makeup. Not Willard. Versed as he is in philosophy, psychology, and theology, Willard explores the route to Christlikeness by examining six psychological capacities: soul (spiritual), social (relational), thoughts (rational), choices (volitional), feelings (emotional), and the body (physical). Rarely does one find such a holistic approach. Willard first outlines his biblical understanding of spiritual formation, or Christlikeness. He then uses his philosophical and theological training to probe the depths of the heart. This foundation poured, he then provides the practical meat of his book--specific chapters on each of the six human "faculties" (as the Puritans called them). These six chapters are some of the most profound materials written on the spiritual life in the past two hundred years. Willard concludes by moving beyond the individual to the Church and the world. In doing so, he follows the Scriptures and the Reformers in insisting that personal spirituality is ultimately for God's glory, through the Church, to the world. Read it slow. Savor it. Use the well-written study guide. Apply it. Share it. It could renovate many hearts. Reviewer: Dr. Robert W. Kellemen is the author of "Soul Physicians" and "Spiritual Friends." He is also a licensed professional clinical counselor and a seminary professor.
Dallas Willard changed my life with his book Divine Conspiracy and his guidance in Renovation of the Heart has drawn me ever closer in my relationship to Jesus Christ. Dr. Willard's thoughtful style and incredible insight into the heart and soul of human beings has helped me to see where I have kept myself from being a true disciple of Jesus.When asked if they are Christians, many people cite their denominational affiliation. The true question is one of the heart or spirit. Can we, through an inner transformation of our heart, mind, soul, and being, betransformed into Christlikeness? Can we heed his call and follow in his footsteps?In Renovation of the Heart, Dr. Willard explains that "we must never forget that the indispensable first step in caring for the soul is to place it underGod.... Spiritual formation for the Christian basically refers to the Spirit-driven process of forming the inner world of the human self in such a way that it becomes like the inner being of Christ himself." Moreover, "Ourwalk with Christ, well learned, is a burden only as wings are to a bird or the engines are to an airplane". Dr. Willard speaks to those seeking a betterunderstanding of their spirit and how it can be radically transformed into Christlikeness.If you truly intend to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, if you truly want to see your life made new, if you desire to have the kingdom of God be a right-here-and-right-now experience, then this book is a must read and I'm sure that you will be as passionate about it as I am.One word of caution; reading Renovation of the Heart and embracing the concepts and ideas held inside will radically change your life (just as Jesus intended).
Willards latest work provides invaluable insight into a new understanding of integrity: the alignment of thoughts, feelings, will, body, social relationships, and soul with the will of God. Beginning with a discussion of these elements of human nature, Willard highlights how all six facets of our being have been hijacked by our culture. The result is that professing Christians automatically act according to their ingrained sin-nature rather than according to a Christ-like nature. Willard then provides practical guidance in the form of spiritual disciplines to enable transformation of the six components from the inside out (in an integrated fashion, with Gods grace) into Christ-likeness. I have found that the advice in Renovation of the Heart works, so I strongly recommend it to any believer seeking life to the full.