Monday, December 26, 2011

3 Dimensions of Discipleship: Great Grub from Dallas Willard

Fantastic piece from Dallas Willard. Here's a snippet

Living as Jesus’ disciple, I am learning from him how to lead my life in the Kingdom of the Heavens everywhere I am, in every activity I engage in. There are three dimensions of this learning.

First, I am learning to do the things which Jesus explicitly said to do. It is quite literally nonsense to call Jesus “Lord,” and not do what he said. “Lord” means nothing in such a case. (Luke 6:46-49) But because I do accept him as Lord, his instructions on behavior are my treasures for living life. Of course I cannot do what he said by just trying. I must train! I must, through appropriate courses of action, become inwardly transformed by grace to become the kind of person—in my inmost thoughts, feelings, attitudes and directions of will—who will routinely do the kinds of things he said to do. I will then not be governed by anger, contempt or lust. And I will be able to bless those who curse me, love my enemies, and so forth, because I am one in whom the character and power of Christ has come to dwell through the processes of discipleship to Christ.

Second, I am learning to conduct the usual activities of life—in home, school, community, business and government—in the character and power of Christ. Jesus himself, of course, spent most of his life on earth as an “independent contractor” or businessman. Jesus could have led the ordinary life of the ordinary citizen in all of its legitimate respects. He can show us how to live now, as a mother or father, banker or computer programmer, teacher or artist, in the Kingdom of the Heavens. His character and power and personal guidance will lead us into life as it should be in all of these areas of human existence.

Third, I am learning to exercise the power of the kingdom—of Christ in his Word and Spirit—to minister good and defeat evil in all of the connections of earthly existence. “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, and He went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed by the devil; for God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38) Apprenticeship to Jesus means that, in tiny steps, we learn to exercise this power seen in Jesus. Growth in character is primary, for power requires substance of character if it is to be used for Christ’s purposes. Christ had no character problems, but we do. Prayer, in its aspect of training for Kingdom life, is primarily a matter of learning to exercise power in a way that is both profitable and safe.

I've printed out the whole article, as, like Christmas turkey, it needs several days of preparation, cooking, chewing over and digesting. Ht David Cooke, a link well worth visiting in its own right.

1 comment:

  1. I love Dallas Willard. I read his "Divine Conspiracy," when it appeared in 1999, the year I had Irene. It was as powerful as a drug, sort of did psychdelic cartwheels in my mind. I found it that exciting! I love his way of expressing himself--"Jesus was the most brilliant man who lived. He could change the molecular structure of water to wine, of bread to feed 5000." Ah, then can he not change the molecular structure of my tired, idolatrous heart? I remember thinking, hopefully.
    I must read him again, now that the baby is 12, and life is quieter and saner.