Renovation of the Heart
Putting on the Character of Christ
Take on the character of Christ through the transformation of your spirit.
We aren't born again to stay the way we are. But how many times have we looked around us in dismay at the lack of spiritual maturity in fellow believers? It is evident in the rising rate of divorces among Christian couples. We find it in the high percentages of Christians, even pastors, who regularly view pornography. And we face it each time a well-known leader in the Christian community is found in sexual sin or handling finances dishonestly. Perhaps you have struggled with your own character issues for years, even decades, to little avail.
There's good news. You CAN experience significant growth in your Christian walk, shed sinful habits, and take on the character of Christ. In Renovation of the Heart, Dallas Willard calls it "the transformation of the spirit"—a divine process that "brings every element in our being, working from inside out, into harmony with the will of God". As we become apprentices of Jesus our spirits are transformed.
But just what is this transformation? Dr. Willard explains that its ideal end is when "all of the essential parts of the human self are effectively organized around God, as they are restored and sustained by him. Spiritual transformation in Christ is the process leading to that ideal end, and its result is love of God with all of the heart, soul, mind, and strength, and of the neighbor as oneself."
Although you may acknowledge this as the ideal, you may still wonder: "How do I get there"? Renovation of the Heart is a realistic guide to discipleship and the real challenges of Christian formation that helps to answer that inquiry. It lays a foundation for understanding the ruin and restoration of humanity, by discussing human nature and its components, how they operate, and how they are renewed. It describes common misunderstandings about our human nature, and the discipleship process. Most importantly, it outlines the general pattern of personal transformation—not as a formula, but as a systematic process that we have the responsibility to undertake as intentional apprentices of Jesus. Only then will our transformation be accomplished, through interaction with the grace of God in Christ, the presence of the Holy Spirit, and spiritual treasures stored in the body of Christ.