How to Pray When the Wicked Prosper: Wisdom From the Psalms

Sometimes, circumstances in our lives and in the world can hinder our desire to pray. And one of those circumstances is seeing the apparent prosperity of the wicked around us. But the Psalms already addressed this issue over 300o years ago! From Anchored in Christ…………………….

Spiritual Formation is a Lifelong Process — Dallas Willard

Spiritual formation is a lifelong process

Spirituality and spiritual formation are whole life matters. A “spiritual life” for the human being consists in that range of activities in which, being brought to spiritual birth by God’s initiative through the Word, he or she cooperatively interacts with God and with the spiritual order (“kingdom”) deriving from God’s personality and action. The result is a new overall quality of human existence with corresponding new powers. A person is a “spiritual person” to the degree that his or her life is effectively integrated into and dominated by God’s Kingdom or rule. For the “babe in Christ,” much of their embodied and concretely socialized personality is not under the direction of God, and the reintegration of their whole life under God is not yet achieved.

From The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus’s Essential Teachings on Discipleship. Copyright © 2006 by Dallas Willard. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Having a Faith to Build Your Life On — Dallas Willard

Faith to Build Your Life On

We don’t have to look very far into our own thinking and living to see the effects of either being sure of God or not being sure of God. I believe that scripture always presents real faith as something that is based on knowledge as well as something that goes beyond anything you could know, and involves a commitment to God and his kingdom. Those two things, knowledge and commitment, are not exclusive of one another; rather, they are related. If we do not have a knowledge of God at the foundation of our commitment, that commitment simply will not hold up. It will waver; it will not govern our lives. It will be like pulling a chair away from someone in the act of sitting down. We will not be able to hold on to our belief as God intends, by the action of his Spirit on our hearts and our minds.

Knowledge and faith are intended to go together. For example, when you read Hebrews 11, the great chapter on faith, you will see faith equated with a vision of reality. We are told that Moses endured as one who sees the invisible. Faith is not a mere thought that something is true or the hope or resolve to believe it is. As Martin Luther said in the preface to his commentary on Romans:

Faith is a living, well-founded confidence in the grace of God, so perfectly certain that it would die a thousand times rather than surrender its conviction. Such confidence and personal knowledge of divine grace makes its possessor joyful, bold, and full of warm affection toward God and all created things—all of which the Holy Spirit works in faith. Hence, such a man becomes without constraint willing and eager to do good to everyone, to serve everyone, to suffer all manner of ills, in order to please and to glorify God, who has shown toward him such grace. It is thus impossible to separate works from faith—yea, just as impossible as to separate burning and shining from fire.”

So when we contrast faith and sight, we always have to be sure that we qualify it, so that we understand what kind of sight we are talking about. And that kind of sight—the vision of the Self-subsistent Being without which all of the universe as we know it would simply fold up and disappear—that knowledge, that faith, that vision is the rock upon which we can build our lives.

From The Allure of Gentleness: Defending the Faith in the Manner of Jesus. Copyright © 2015 by Dallas Willard. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

How Can a Disciple Trust God? — Dallas Willard

What does it take to trust God?

If you want to know whether you truly believe in God, you have to ask yourself what you really trust. This includes when you get up in the morning, when you deal with problems in your family, and when you deal with your business or your church. Many folks who profess to believe in God, act from disbelief. They may believe that Jesus died for their sins and when they die they will go where he is, but as far as an operational belief in God here and now, they don’t have one. This is partly due to the way we’re educated in our society and in our world and partly due simply to the massive presence of natural reality. Psalm 42:10 expresses something of the despair of the individual who is crying out for God, and God does not appear. You’ll remember those words: “As with a deadly wound in my body, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me continually, ‘Where is your God?’ ”

The massive presence of the physical, natural world seems to stand between us and God. We have to deal with all those physical things and processes that are all around us, and we are tempted to deal with them as if it were merely a matter of our own strength. I want to tell you that it is not an easy thing to count on God. It’s easy for us to print on our money, “In God We Trust,” but what do you believe that means for us as a nation? What does it mean to trust God? Do you think our nation really does trust God? How many people do you meet in a day who really trust God? In the decision processes at work or at home, in your neighborhood, in the quietness of your own room, are you able to really trust God?

From The Allure of Gentleness: Defending the Faith in the Manner of Jesus. Copyright © 2015 by Dallas Willard. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Practice Using God’s Gift of Truth — Dallas Willard

Practice Using God’s Gift of Truth

Truth is a gift God instilled into creation so that we can properly engage reality. In this way, truth is like aiming a rifle. If our aim is right, or true, then we are able to hit the target. Likewise, if our ideas and beliefs are true, we are empowered to engage with the reality of our lives. This is a very simple concept that only very bright people can confuse for us. It is a tragedy that truth, as it has come to be known today, is often considered enigmatic, unrecognizable, or even relative. Unbelief in truth encourages both hopelessness and arrogance. Neither can be endured for long when engaging the most important things in our lives.

From The Divine Conspiracy Continued: Fulfilling God’s Kingdom on Earth. Copyright © 2014 by Dallas Willard amd Gary Black Jr. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.