Archive for January 16th, 2023

Be Transformed


Written by Dallas Willard (1935-2013), an American philosopher, theologian, and author .  This is an excerpt from his book “The Spirit of the Disciplines.”

The persons and ministries of John the Baptist and of Jesus himself, both rich in the practice of activities designed to strengthen the spirit, were held constantly before [early Christians]. So, wherever early Christians looked they saw examples of the practice of solitude, fasting, prayer, private study, communal study, worship, and sacrificial service and giving—to mention only some of the more obvious disciplines for spiritual life. These early Christians really did arrange their lives very differently from their non-Christian neighbors, as well as from the vast majority of those of us called Christians today. We are speaking of their overall style of life, not just what they did under pressure, which frequently was also astonishingly different…We can become like Christ by practicing the types of activities he himself practiced in order to remain constantly at home in the fellowship of the Father.  What activities did Jesus practice? Such things as solitude and silence, prayer, simple and sacrificial living, intense study and meditation upon God’s Word and God’s ways, and service to others. Some of these will certainly be even more necessary to us than they were to him, because of our greater or different needs. But in a balanced life of activities, we will be constantly enlivened by “The Kingdom Not of this World.” … Faith today is treated as something that only should make us different, not that actually does or can make us different. In reality, we vainly struggle against the evils of this world, waiting to die and go to heaven. Somehow we’ve gotten the idea that the essence of faith is entirely a mental and inward thing…We have simply let our thinking fall into the grip of a false opposition of grace to “works” that was caused by a mistaken association of works with “merit.” … Today, we think of Christ’s power entering our lives in various ways—through the sense of forgiveness and love for God or through the awareness of truth, through special experiences of the infusion of the Spirit, through the presence of Christ in the inner life or through the power of ritual and liturgy or the preaching of the Word, through the communion of saints or through a heightened consciousness of the depths and mysteries of life. All of these are doubtlessly real and of some good effect. However, neither individually nor collectively do any of these ways reliably produce large numbers of people who really are like Christ and his closest followers throughout history…when we call men and women to life in Christ Jesus we are offering them the opportunity of a vivid companionship with him, in “transforming friendship.” We meet and dwell with Jesus and his Father in the disciplines for the spiritual life.


Written by David Mathis, a contemporary author and editor.

Lord, thank you for your abundant, abounding grace. Thank you that we don’t have to earn a drop of the mighty river of grace that flows freely for us today. Thank you for the unexpected, unmerited favor you’ve showered on my life. Help me put myself in the path of your love and grace. Help me not neglect the disciplines I need to meet with you regularly and to drink from the water of life. Thank you for your rich love. Amen.

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