Archive for February 27th, 2021

Inner Character


Written by Dallas Willard (1935-2013), an American theologian, philosopher and author.

To fulfill the high calling that God has placed upon us in creating us and redeeming us, we must have the right inner substance or character. We must come to grips with who we really are, inside and out. For we will do what we are. So we will need to become the kind of people who routinely and easily walk in the goodness and power of Jesus our master. For this, a process of “spiritual formation”—really, transformation—is required. Spiritual formation for the Christian is a Spirit-driven process of forming the inner world of the human self—our “spiritual” or invisible aspects of human life—in such a way that it becomes like the inner being of Christ himself. In the degree to which such a spiritual transformation to inner Christlikeness is successful, the outer life of the individual will become a natural expression or outflow of the character and teachings of Jesus. We will simply “walk the walk,” as we say.

Christlikeness of the inner being is not a merely human attainment, of course. It is, finally, a gift of grace. Nevertheless, well-informed human effort is indispensable. Spiritual formation in Christ is not a passive process. Grace does not make us passive. Divine grace is God acting in our life to accomplish what we cannot do on our own. It informs our being and actions and makes them effective in the wisdom and power of God. Hence, grace is not opposed to effort (our actions) but to earning (our attitude). Paul the apostle, who perhaps understood grace as none other, remarks on his own efforts for Christ: “By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me” (1 Cor. 15:10). The supernatural outcome that accompanies grace-full action stands out.


Written by Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), a Spanish priest and theologian who founded the Jesuits. Jesuits served the Pope as missionaries.

As he sat by the river,

the eyes of his understanding began to be opened;

not that he saw any vision,

but he understood and learnt many things,

both spiritual matters and matters of faith and of scholarship,

and this with so great an enlightenment

that everything seemed new to him.


In the Cross of Christ I Glory: Kelvedon Green.  The text of the hymn is loosely based on Galatians 6:14. The hymn was written by John Bowring in 1825. The first line of the hymn is inscribed on his tombstone.

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