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The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives

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This description may be from another edition of this product. How to Live as Jesus Lived Dallas Willard, one of today's most brilliant Christian thinkers and author of The Divine Conspiracy ( Christianity Today's 1999 Book of the Year), presents a way of living...

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A Classic Work on the Subject of Spiritual Formation

Dallas Willard has written a compelling argument for a revival of the spiritual disciplines. It's a book that goes beyond "what would Jesus do" into the deeper question of "how would Jesus live." Willard argues that for us to live the life of Jesus "under pressure" we must adopt his overall lifestyle, which was punctuated by the spiritual disciplines. Though individual disciplines are examined, "The Spirit of the Disciplines" isn't primarily a book about "how to" practice the disciplines but "why to" make them a central part of your life. It is challenging, thought provoking, and potentially life changing.

Provides a Practical Theology of the Spiritual Disciplines

This book, "The Spirit of the Disciplines," is part of a trilogy which includes "In Search of Guidance" (later revised and retitled "Hearing God") and culminates in "The Divine Conspiracy." Do not make the mistake of thinking that the latter book, as good as it is, surpasses and makes obsolete the other two. All three are great books in their own right and supplement each other and should be read together as the author intended. Also, Willard's books are good complimentary companions to those by Richard Foster, especially his "Celebration of Discipline" and "Prayer: Finding The Heart's True Home." In fact, in "The Spirit of the Disciplines," Willard refers readers to "Celebration of Discipline" for more practical application of the disciplines since his book's main thrust is to provide a practical theology of the spiritual disciplines which he felt was lacking in contemporary Christian literature. Another good book on the spiritual disciplines is "Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life" by Donald S. Whitney which takes into consideration Willard's and Foster's insights and adds a few of its own, including the important one that "meditation is the missing link between Bible intake and prayer." I also consider spiritual mentoring to be important and I've found the book by Randy Reese and Keith Anderson entitled "Spiritual Mentoring: A Guide for Seeking and Giving Direction" to be very useful in this regard. Reese and Anderson also value the wisdom of the Christian spiritual masters of old, as do Foster and Willard, and saturate their book with their insights. Willard's thrust in this book is to emphasize and expound the vital importance of the spiritual disciplines to the Christian life and to clear away popular misconceptions of them. In the preface, he says: "My central claim is that we CAN become like Christ by doing one thing - by following him in the overall style of life he chose for himself. If we have faith in Christ, we must believe that he knew how to live. We can, through faith and grace, become like Christ by practicing the types of activities he engaged in, by arranging our whole lives around the activities he himself practiced in order to remain constantly at home in the fellowship of his Father." He continues: "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 need. But in a balanced life of such activities, we will be constantly enlivened by `The Kingdom Not of This World' - the Kingdom of Truth as seen in John 18:36 - 37." We must go beyond asking "What would Jesus do?" to practicing what Jesus practiced. "Following `in his steps' cannot be equated with behaving as he did when he was `on the spot.' To live as Christ lived is to live as he did all hi

An unparalleled look at an underspoken topic

Dallas Willard's examination of the disciplines of the Christian life is an unparalleled book on the subject. I have never read its equal. In Christianity today, there is so much emphasis on a quick conversion and the love and mercy of God, but rarely does a teacher speak on the difficult topic of the strain and pain and longevity of the daily walk with Christ. The disciplines of a Christian are similar to the disciplines of one running a marathon, the Apostle Paul teaches, and Dallas Willard has taken a careful examination of these disciplines. He declares that Christianity can only be a relevant guide for modern humanity if it takes the need for human transformation through the Holy Spirit seriously, and clarify and exemplify realistic methods of this transformation by modeling it ourselves as Christians. Willard goes into great detail concerning the disciplines as the method by which Christians model the work of the Spirit in their lives. He declares that they are the very nature of life itself for Christians and that only by consistently teaching and practicing them will Christ's church be the force required for true spiritual change in today's society. A masterful work, this book should be in the library of any Christian that seeks to truly live the life of Christ and be a light in the world today.

An unparalelled look at an underspoken topic

Dallas Willard's examination of the disciplines of the Christian life is an unparalelled book on the subject. I have never read its equal. In Christianity today, there is so much emphasis on a quick conversion and the love and mercy of God, but rarely does a teacher speak on the difficult topic of the strain and pain and longevity of the daily walk with Christ. The disciplines of a Christian are similar to the disciplines of one running a marathon, the Apostle Paul teaches, and Dallas Willard has taken a careful examination of these disciplines. He declares that Christianity can only be a relevant guide for modern humanity if it takes the need for human transformation through the Holy Spirit seriously, and clarify and exemplify realistic methods of this transformation by modelling it ourselves as Christians. Willard goes into great detail concerning the disciplines as the method by which Christians model the work of the Spirit in their lives. He declares that they are the very nature of life itself for Christians and that only by consistently teaching and practicing them will Christ's church be the force required for true spiritual change in today's society. A masterful work, this book should be in the library of any Christian who seeks to truly live the life of Christ and be a light in the world today.

Balanced Philosophy of Faith

Though I have never met either man, Dallas Willard and AW Tozer are my spiritual role models. Both men have an acute grasp of the philosphical and practical implications of true heart beliefs for walking with Jesus Christ. Whereas Tozer models classic prophet gifting through a blunt, sometimes abrasive, proclamation of truth, Willard tempers his gift with an unusual balance. Many academic writers of spiritual material tend to be much too erudite. They seem to be more interested in categorizing God than in knowing him. They also seem to be more interested in identifying and pigeon-holing people than in loving them. Willard cuts against the grain of professiorial arrogance and demonstrates instead an excellent balance of love of God, love for people in community and well-thought out philosophy of Christian faith. Spirit of the Disciplines discusses the role of the body in the development of spiritual maturity. Willard addresses Christianity's fear of the flesh by walking the user through an intellectually challenging discussion on his perception of the importance of bringing the body into relationship with Christ. If I could reduce Willard's argument to a single concept (at the risk of too much reduction that might offend brother Willard), I would say this: 'No matter where you are, there your body is. For this reason, your body is key to all that you do as a disciple of Jesus.' Think about it: the essence of faith is love and love is not expressed through abstract ideas or expressions. Love is done in action for someone else. Love can be spoken or it can be acted out but the body is the source of all expressions of love. Love is not merely thinking how nice it would be if I raked my neighbor's yard. Instead, love is expressed when I move my body to grab a rake and step into my neighbor's yard to complete the job. Likewise, the body is the source of all expressions of sin. It is for this reason that disciplines are required to bring the body into progressive submission to obedience to Christ. I believe Willard to be saying that the degree to which we express love and sin through our bodies is a measure of our maturity in the faith and the depth of our vital love for God and others. This book, along with Willard's, "In Search of Guidance," has been one of the most formative books for my walk with Christ. I strongly recommend this rigorous book for excellent brain and heart food.
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