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Bible Christian Jesus The Trinity Walking with Christ

Be Slow to Anger and Quick to Listen — Dallas Willard

Be Slow to Anger and Quick to Listen

In disagreement and discord, we also follow Christ’s example of seeking peace, of being slow to anger and quick to listen. Additionally, concepts such as acceptance and tolerance—religious or otherwise—find significant support in the teachings of Jesus. These are important topics in contemporary life. Toleration of others is part of what was lost in the rise of secular morality, which coincided with an increase in negative attitudes toward Christian virtue in the academy and government. The fact that Christians are regularly thought to be close-minded, dogmatic, and intolerant is certainly justified in some cases. Yet this attitude is also highly ironic since the very tradition of tolerance in the Western context is accentuated in the Christocentric worldview. Just a simple count of the tolerant societies in the world today gives some clue as to the power of the applied moral teachings of Christ and their benefit to the world. If self-professed Christians are being aggressively and consistently intolerant, they are certainly not emulating the example of Christ or the traditions and teachings of Christianity. Much trouble and confusion about these matters can often be attributed simply to mislabeling. “Christians” are often not Christlike. However, this lamentable fact should not impugn Jesus or his teaching on tolerance.

From The Divine Conspiracy Continued: Fulfilling God’s Kingdom on Earth. Copyright © 2014 by Dallas Willard amd Gary Black Jr. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

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Bible Christian God the Father

Dwelling Upon God — Dallas Willard

Dwelling upon God

To bring the mind to dwell intelligently upon God as he is presented in his Word will have the effect of causing us to love God passionately, and this love will in turn bring us to think of God steadily. Thus he will always be before our minds. As Thomas Watson beautifully wrote long ago,

The first fruit of love is the musing of the mind upon God.

He who is in love, his thoughts are ever upon the object. . . . By

this we may test our love to God. What are our thoughts most

upon? Can we say we are ravished with delight when we think

on God? . . . Oh, how far are they from being lovers of God, who

scarcely ever think of God!

As disciples engage in the practice of placing Jesus Christ at center stage in every branch of human knowledge, they are simultaneously being encouraged to train their thoughts ever upon God. In this way they enter not only a life of study, but also a life of worship.

To think of God rightly, as God is, one cannot help but lapse into worship; and worship is the single most powerful force in completing and sustaining the spiritual formation of the whole person. Worship naturally arises from thinking rightly of God on the basis of revealed truth confirmed in experience. We say flatly: worship is at once the overall character of the renovated thought life and the only safe place for any human being to stand.

From Renewing the Christian Mind: Essays, Interviews, and Talks. Copyright © 2016 by Willard Family Trust. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

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Bible Christian The Trinity Walking with Christ

Disciples Must Spend Time with Jesus — Dallas Willard

Being with Jesus

But if I am to be someone’s apprentice, there is one absolutely essential condition. I must be with that person. This is true of the student-teacher relationship in all generality. And it is precisely what it meant to follow Jesus when he was here in human form. To follow him meant, in the first place, to be with him.

If I am Jesus’ disciple that means I am with him to learn from him how to be like him. To take cases from ordinary life, a child learning to multiply and divide numbers is an apprentice to its teacher. Children are with their teachers, learning from them how to be like them in a certain respect—similarly for a student of the piano or voice, of the Spanish language, of tennis, and so forth. The “being-with,” by watching and by hearing, is an absolute necessity. . . .

God as personality is not a physical reality that everyone must see whether they want to or not. He can, of course, make himself present to the human mind in any way he chooses. But—for good reasons rooted deeply in the nature of the person and of personal relationships—his preferred way is to speak, to communicate: thus the absolute centrality of scripture to our discipleship. And this, among other things, is the reason why an extensive use of solitude and silence is so basic for growth of the human spirit, for they form an appropriate context for listening and speaking to God.

From The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God. Copyright © 1997 by Dallas Willard. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

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Bible Christian

Where There is a Will, There is a Way — Dallas Willard

Where there is a will, there is a way

In the spiritual life, it is actually true that “where there is a will there is a way.” This is true because God is involved and makes his help available to those who seek it. On the other hand, where there is no will (firm intentions based on clear vision) there is no way. People who do not intend to be inwardly transformed, so that obedience to Christ “comes naturally,” will not be transformed. God will not pick us up and throw us into transformed kingdom living, into “holiness,” against our will.

From Renewing the Christian Mind: Essays, Interviews, and Talks. Copyright © 2016 by Willard Family Trust. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

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Bible Christian Jesus

Love is the Meaning of Life — Dallas Willard

Love reveals the meaning of life

We have never known a person genuinely devoted to serving God and others from an agape-centered worldview to have a problem discerning the “meaning of life.” To love God with divine love is to be constantly seeking to do, and be involved in, what is good, to and for God, which is also to be simultaneously committed to the good of our “neighbors.” This is why each of the Ten Commandments conveys key relational dynamics that provide common benefits to the individual as well as the community. This becomes more obvious when Jesus teaches that the internalization of these laws or ways sets us free to live life at its fullest (Matt. 5–7). This comes when the ways of God are written, or imprinted, on the heart, the motivational centerpiece of human life.

From The Divine Conspiracy Continued: Fulfilling God’s Kingdom on Earth. Copyright © 2014 by Dallas Willard amd Gary Black Jr. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

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Bible Christian God the Father Jesus The Holy Spirit

Through Faith, We Can Know the Voice of God — Dallas Willard

Faith helps us know the voice of God

If you wish to know the voice of God as it comes to you individually, simply allow yourself to trust God to lead you into that. Ask God to speak to you and then wait attentively. He will probably speak to you clearly. But you have to understand and believe that this is even possible. Otherwise your faith will not rise to it, and you will not have the opportunity to learn. The reason I emphasize this here is because, when your friend asks about your relationship with God and the reason for your hope, you don’t want to be in the position of saying, “Well, he never speaks to me, but he speaks to lots of other people.”

From The Allure of Gentleness: Defending the Faith in the Manner of Jesus. Copyright © 2015 by Dallas Willard. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.