This past week I read a book called “Renovation of the Heart-Putting on the Character of Christ” by Dallas Willard. I would like to share a few reflections out of this book on discipleship.
I found Willard’s writing to be profound yet straightforward from the Scriptures on the call of the gospel of Jesus Christ on our lives. The foundational premise is that Jesus has not saved us just to experience heaven in the future, but to experience heavenly transformation in our lives on earth.
This is the liberating good news- Jesus not only died for our sins- He liberates us from the power of sin. He invites us into a new life/reality of relationship with Him in His holiness and power. Jesus Himself is the ultimate treasure of our lives.
Willard describes this treasure when the disciple of Jesus begins, “Living with increasing fullness in every essential dimension of the personality of the individual devoted to Him as Savior and Teacher”. Jesus is the ultimate goal of the Christian disciple and He becomes the renovator of every aspect of our life.
Willard goes on to say, “the renovation of the heart in Christlikeness-that is, in humanity as God always intended it-is not something that concerns the heart (spirit, will) alone.
The heart cannot be renovated if the other aspects of the person remain in the grip of evil.
Willpower- even inspired will power- is not the key to personal transformation. Rather, the will and character only progress in effectual well-being and well doing as all other essential aspects of the person come into line with the intent of a will brought to newness of life “from above” by the Word and Spirit”.
Discipleship is not personal discipline or self-improvement.
It is a new life in Christ!
Willard concludes by saying, “This aching world is waiting for the people explicitly identified with Christ to be, through and through, the people he intends them to be. Whether it realizes it or not, there is no other hope on earth.”
We must awaken to the call of Jesus to be truly His followers. It means we must lose everything and find our new life with Him.