Sobering Thoughts for Lenten Reflection

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from Renovation of the Heart
Dallas Willard

Our life and how we find the world now and in the future is, almost totally, a simple result of what we have become in the depths of our being--in our spirit, will, or heart. From there we see our world and interpret reality. From there we make our choices, beak forth into action, try to change our world. We live from our depth--most of which we do not understand.

"Do you mean," some will say, "that the individual and collective disasters that fill the human scene are not imposed upon us from without? That they do not just happen to us?"

Yes. That is what I mean. In today's world, famine, war, and epidemic are almost totally the outcome of human choices, which are expressions of the human spirit. Though vairous qualifications and explanations are appropriate, that is in general true.

. . . Accordingly, the greatest need you and I have--the greatest need of collective humanity-- is renovation of our heart That spiritual place within us from which outlook, choices, and actions come has been formed by a world away from God. Now it must be transformed.

Indeed, the only hope of humanity lies in the fact that, as our spiritual dimension has been formed, so it also can be transfomred. Now and through the ages this has been acknowledged by everyone who has thought deeply about our condition--from Moses, Solomon, Socrates, and Spnoza, to Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Oprah, and current feminists and enivronmentalists. We, very rightly, continually preach this possilbity and necessity from our pulpits. Disagreement have only to do with what in our spirit needs to be changed and how that change can be brought about.

The key to transformation, as I am sure I will discover as I continue to read this wonderful book, is conformity to the image of myself that God has in mind. That is conformity to the daily crosses that shape and mold me to better fit into the places God wants me to occupy. Thus to effect transformation, renovation, if you will, I must not merely pick up my cross and carry it; rather, I must embrace it as God's will for me at the moment. I must hold it close to me and cherish it as God's gift to me, as that which will transform me and make we whole and complete in the body. The Cross is not something to be merely tolerated, it is something that we must desire. I begin to understand all the saints who prayed for things you and I would not think of praying for--greater humiliation, greater suffering, greater trial. They had learned to see that through these things not only do they share in the suffering of Christ, but they become transformed into His living image in the world. Right now, I am too timid to pray for such great hardships, but I do think I have worked my way up to really praying (and meaning) "thy will be done." Whatever I suffer now (in the realm of grace) I do not suffer later. The more I am transformed now, the less painful the later transformation will have to be. "Let it be done unto me according to thy will," knowing, all the while, that His will can only be good for me, no matter what it contains.

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This is exactly where my reading has been taking me, as well. I think that even now, I am just timidly praying "thy will be done". May God continue to transform our vision to be like that of the saints.



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on March 7, 2005 8:21 AM.

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