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…………….

Your Personal Relationship with God Matters — Dallas Willard

Your Personal Relationship with God Matters

When people ask, “Why are you hopeful in the midst of this world, with all of the suffering and evil that goes on and all of the things that are happening to you?” they don’t want to hear merely about a great God. They don’t want to hear merely about redemptive history, an infallible book, or a covenant people who are a constant testimony to the real hand of God in history. They want to know what’s happening to you, what’s going on in your life. You are saying, “He is my fortress, he is my deliverer.” So they’re going to want to know when the last time he delivered you was. What does deliverance mean? How does this really work? Sharing the good news is often about sharing the personal good news of your life in Christ and not the abstract and generalized good news. They want to hear about your personal relationship to this personal God, who is the foundation of all of reality.

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.

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

A Holy Tension: Responding to Failed Expectations in the Already and Not Yet

There are many paradoxes in the Christian life that all believers must learn to hold in tension at the same time; that we are already saved and counted as righteous, but we are not yet fully sanctified. This article does a fine job of describing this fact of the Christian life to our benefit. From Beautiful Christian Life…………….

https://www.beautifulchristianlife.com/blog/a-holy-tension-responding-to-failed-expectations-in-the-already-and-not-yet

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.