What Does It Actually Mean to Be Conformed to the Image of Christ?

This brief article reminds us that our salvation is not just a “rescue” from an eternity in hell, but more is a growing in our spirits and minds, and hearts to become like Jesus. (and that process will never end). From GraceLifeInternational.com…………….

In Spiritual Growth, Where There is a Will, There is a Way — Dallas Willard

Where there is a will, there is a way

In the spiritual life, it is actually true that “where there is a will there is a way.” This is true because God is involved and makes his help available to those who seek it. On the other hand, where there is no will (firm intentions based on clear vision) there is no way. People who do not intend to be inwardly transformed, so that obedience to Christ “comes naturally,” will not be transformed. God will not pick us up and throw us into transformed kingdom living, into “holiness,” against our will.

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

Spiritual Growth — Dallas Willard

Spiritual Growth

While the initiative in the revival and reformation of the soul originally comes from what lies beyond us, we are never merely passive at any point in the process. This is clear from the biblical imperatives to repent and to believe, and—for the person with new life already in them—to put off the old person and put on the new, to work out the salvation that is given to us, etc., etc. It is certainly true, as Jesus said to his friends, “apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). But it is equally true for them that “If you do nothing, it will be without me.” In the process of spiritual reformation under grace, passivity does not exclude activity and activity does not exclude passivity.

Hence, the invasion of the personality by life from above does not by itself form the personality in the likeness of Christ. It does not of itself restore the soul into the wholeness intended for it in its creation. It does not alone bring one to the point where “the things I would, that I do, and the things I would not, I do not,” where “sin will have no dominion over you” (Romans 6:14). Rather, I must learn and accept the responsibility of moving with God in transformation of my own personality. Intelligent and steady implementation of plans for change are required if I am to lose the incoherence of the broken soul and take on the easy obedience and fulfillment of the person who lives ever more fully within the Kingdom of God and the friendship of Jesus.

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.

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.

5 Steps to a Successful ‘Transplant’ of God’s Word in Your Life

This is a rather lengthy article, but it is very much worth your time to read! It contains a wealth of information to incorporate God’s Word within you for life transformation. From pastor and author Rick Renner at harrisonhouseblog.com…………………

https://www.harrisonhouseblog.com/blog/rick-renner-five-steps-to-a-successful-transplant-of-gods-wor-in-your-life?_kx=uvJdnxWJ_lUOm_rRSxJ6gHZUkB2lqQGAjE6CRubad9w%3D.VziePX

God Uses Our Minds to Communicate with Us — Dallas Willard

Focus your mind on God

If we do not use our ability to turn our minds and thoughts toward God, we do not have contact with God. Undoubtedly God could move into the human realm and invade the mind. If God did act in such a way, what are the chances the receiver would properly interpret such an encounter, if there is no knowledge of God at all? Therefore, what human beings can and must do is progress to the point where we consciously, intentionally focus our minds on God. The minister of the gospel is tasked with the very special and essential calling of directing and illuminating our minds toward the reality of God and his ways.

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.

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.

BOOK REVIEW: 30 DAYS TO GROWING IN YOUR FAITH — Enrich Your Life in 15 Minutes a Day by Max Anders Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2021)

The well-known author and Bible scholar Max Anders has produced another helpful and encouraging resource for Christians with 30 Days to Growing in Your Faith. Using the same format he used in the classic work, 30 Days to Understanding Your Bible, this present book consists of 30 short chapters meant to be read in 15 minutes or less and to read one chapter each day for better retention of the material.

Anders directs this book to both newer believers and more seasoned disciples of Jesus, who might feel that their spiritual lives have stagnated or lack passion and energy. This volume builds its knowledge base for the reader in three parts: First, the person has certain fundamental truths they must know to be a Christian. Second, the person takes this knowledge they have gained about God and themselves to be the person God wants them to be. Third, the person is then in the position to live out God’s plan and do the things He has called them to do.

As a skilled seminary professor, Anders uses many tools such as repetition, fill-in-the-blanks, and thought-provoking questions to help the reader more fully engage with the content covered in the book. And he covers a wide range of issues that every Christian faces in their spiritual growth, such as the battle between the inner man and the outer man, renewing the mind, trials and suffering, self-discipline, prayer, trusting God, and discerning God’s will. This resource is one that a reader will actively work with and will want to return to multiple times. Highly recommended!

Spiritual Formation is When the Student Grows to Resemble the Master — 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.