What are “Followers” of Christ to Do? — Dallas Willard

What are “followers of Christ” to do?

The task of followers of Christ is to know Christ and, in knowing him, to make knowledge of God and of life in God available to those around them. That is what responsible people do with knowledge of any important subject. If you have knowledge on any matter of great importance to human beings, it is your duty to make that knowledge available to others.If you know the house is on fire, you must share your knowledge with others. If you know where the bargains are, you tell your friends. If you know how to stop global warming or cure cancer, you have a duty to share that knowledge. Not so of your mere opinions, feelings, or decisions about such matters.

From Knowing Christ Today: Why We Can Trust Spiritual Knowledge. Copyright © 2009 by Dallas Willard. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Grace and Trust— Dallas Willard

Grace and trust
May I just give you this word? Grace is not opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning. Earning is an attitude. Effort is an action.

Grace, you know, does not just have to do with forgiveness of sins alone. Many people don’t know this, and that is one major result of the cutting down of the gospel to a theory of justification, which has happened in our time. I have heard leading evangelical spokespeople say that grace has only to do with guilt. Many people today understand justification as the only essential result of the gospel, and the gospel they preach is—and you will hear this said over and over by the leading presenters of evangelical faith—that your sins can be forgiven. That’s it!

“There is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human” (1 Timothy 2:5). If you would really like to be into consuming grace, just lead a holy life. The true saint burns grace like a 747 burns fuel on takeoff. Become the kind of person who routinely does what Jesus did and said. You will consume much more grace by leading a holy life than you will by sinning, because every holy act you do will have to be upheld by the grace of God. And that upholding is totally the unmerited favor of God in action. It is the life of regeneration and resurrection—and justification, which is absolutely vital, for our sins have to be forgiven. But justification is not something separable from regeneration.
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.

Being With Jesus — Dallas Willard

Being with Jesus

“But if I am to be someone’s apprentice, there is one absolutely essential condition. I must be with that person. This is true of the student-teacher relationship in all generality. And it is precisely what it meant to follow Jesus when he was here in human form. To follow him meant, in the first place, to be with him.

If I am Jesus’ disciple that means I am with him to learn from him how to be like him. To take cases from ordinary life, a child learning to multiply and divide numbers is an apprentice to its teacher. Children are with their teachers, learning from them how to be like them in a certain respect—similarly for a student of the piano or voice, of the Spanish language, of tennis, and so forth. The “being-with,” by watching and by hearing, is an absolute necessity. . . .

God can, of course, make himself present to the human mind in any way he chooses. But—for good reasons rooted deeply in the nature of the person and of personal relationships—his preferred way is to speak, to communicate: thus the absolute centrality of scripture to our discipleship. And this, among other things, is the reason why an extensive use of solitude and silence is so basic for growth of the human spirit, for they form an appropriate context for listening and speaking to God.”

From The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God. Copyright © 1997 by Dallas Willard. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Being with Jesus — Dallas Willard

“But if I am to be someone’s apprentice, there is one absolutely essential condition. I must be with that person. This is true of the student-teacher relationship in all generality. And it is precisely what it meant to follow Jesus when he was here in human form. To follow him meant, in the first place, to be with him.”

“If I am Jesus’ disciple that means I am with him to learn from him how to be like him. To take cases from ordinary life, a child learning to multiply and divide numbers is an apprentice to its teacher. Children are with their teachers, learning from them how to be like them in a certain respect—similarly for a student of the piano or voice, of the Spanish language, of tennis, and so forth. The “being-with,” by watching and by hearing, is an absolute necessity. . . .”

“God can, of course, make himself present to the human mind in any way he chooses. But—for good reasons rooted deeply in the nature of the person and of personal relationships—his preferred way is to speak, to communicate: thus the absolute centrality of scripture to our discipleship. And this, among other things, is the reason why an extensive use of solitude and silence is so basic for growth of the human spirit, for they form an appropriate context for listening and speaking to God.”

From The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God. Copyright © 1997 by Dallas Willard. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

I Was Discipled by….the Church

This is a pretty important article. We have all heard and read how important it is to find a mentor (or even to be a mentor for someone else!). But unfortunately, it is extremely rare for a younger believer to find a true mentor in the faith. But this article brings us the happy news that all of us can be disciples and encouraged by our local church…if we go about it in the right way! From The Gospel Coalition………………..

Dallas Willard Lists His Essential Scriptures for Discipleship and Kingdom Living

Essential Scriptures

Of course, in all our study the person of Jesus is the center of attention. But He is not really separable, for us, from the written revelatory word, including the Law, the Prophets, the history, and the wisdom of the Old Testament. One who would train disciples “to hear and do” will direct them to all these, still centered on the Person of Jesus.

The twenty-third Psalm is also an exquisite summary of life in the kingdom. The mind of the disciple should have it internalized, to always foster the joy and peace of the kingdom as well as to orient all of his or her actions within it. The Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, the Sermon on the Mount, Romans 8, Colossians 3, Philippians 2–4, and a few other passages of scripture should be frequently meditated on in depth, and much of them memorized. This is an essential part of any training for Christlikeness. Positive engagement with these scriptures will bring kingdom order into our entire personality. This is something you will strongly experience as you go through the process of such study

From Renewing the Christian Mind: Essays, Interviews, and Talks. Copyright © 2016 by Willard Family Trust. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

A Definition of “Disciple” From Dallas Willard

The student resembles the master

Spiritual formation in Christ is the process through which disciples or apprentices of Jesus take on the qualities or characteristics of Christ himself, in every essential dimension of human personality. The overall orientation of their will, the kinds of thoughts and feelings that occupy them, the “automatic” inclinations and “readinesses” of their body in action, the prevailing posture of their relations toward others, and the harmonious wholeness of their soul—these all, through the formative processes undergone by his disciples, increasingly come to resemble the personal dimensions of their master. “A pupil is not above his teacher,” Jesus said, “but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40).

From Renewing the Christian Mind: Essays, Interviews, and Talks. Copyright © 2016 by Willard Family Trust. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Wisdom From Dallas Willard

So begins a series of short excerpts from the writings of Christian thibnker and author Dallas Willard. He had a deep and unique insight into truly living as a disciple of Christ……..

Study

Now, disciples of Jesus are people who want to take into their being the order of the kingdom of God that is among us. They wish to live their life in that kingdom as Jesus himself would, and that requires internalization of its order. Study is the chief way in which they accomplish that. They devote their attention, their thoughtful inquiry, and their practical experimentation to the order of the kingdom as seen in Jesus, in the written word of scripture, in others who walk in the way, and, indeed, in every good thing in nature, history, and culture.

Thus Paul’s practical advice from his jail cell to his friends at Philippi, “Whatever things are true, serious, right, pure, lovable, well regarded, any virtue and anything admirable, let your mind dwell on them. What you have learned, received, heard, and seen in me, do that. And the God of peace will be with you” (Phil. 4:8–9, PAR). For all such good things are of God and his reign.

From Renewing the Christian Mind: Essays, Interviews, and Talks. Copyright © 2016 by Willard Family Trust. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.