Thursday, February 17, 2011

Easy Theology

Thus men will lie on their backs, talking about the fall of man, and never make an effort to get up. (Henry David Thoreau)

Did you know each and every one of us is directed by a theology? Theology is simply what we think about God. Even atheists have a theology guiding them. So, how’s your theology these days? Where’s it leading you?

Chapter 2 of The Spirit of the Disciplines is about having a theology that leads/aids us in making change. To run with the quote at the beginning, it’s about making the effort to change. We know Jesus has commissioned us to make Christlike disciples in the nations (this includes making disciples who follow Jesus and who become like Him in character), but do we know how to go about it? This is where training in the spiritual disciplines comes in. A great quote from John Wesley was used to support bringing discipline into the Christian life:

It was a common saying among the Christians of the primitive church, “The soul and the body make a man; the spirit and discipline make a Christian:” implying that none could be real Christians without the help of Christian discipline. But if this be so, is it any wonder we find so few Christians, for where is Christian discipline?

The spiritual disciplines aid us in offering our bodies as living sacrifices to God (Rom 12:2). Willard closes the chapter by saying, “Full participation in the life of God’s Kingdom and in the vivid companionship of Christ comes to us only through appropriate exercise in the disciplines for life in the spirit.”

Do you agree/disagree with this?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Easy Yoke

Chapter 1
Do you consider following Christ to be easy?

Chapter 1 of The Spirit of the Disciplines is called The Secret of the Easy Yoke and is about the easy yoke of following Christ. Dallas contends in this chapter that there is something easy to following Christ. Do you believe that? Jesus says in Matthew 11:30, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Did you know He said that? Most of us, when it comes to thinking about following Jesus, imagine it involves just doing what He did. This is the popular WWJD that we see so many teens advertising across the wrists. To a certain extent we want to do this, but following Christ is so much more. Dallas says, “To live as Christ lived is to live as he did all his life.” This is a great point and maybe why so many have trouble living as Christ. Do you live every moment of your life like Christ? We think we can just behave like Him in an instant when we haven’t been behaving like Him for the rest of our lives.

I love the quote by Oswald Chambers that Dallas uses, “The Sermon on the Mount is not a set of principles to be obeyed apart from identification with Jesus Christ. The Sermon on the Mount is a statement of the life we will live when the Holy Spirit is getting his way with us.”

Dallas concludes this chapter by reminding us that we can only act like Christ if we learn to live our total lives in the way He did. “The secret of the easy yoke, then, is to learn from Christ how to live our total lives, how to invest all our time and our energies of mind and body as he did. We must learn how to follow his preparations, the disciplines for life in God’s rule that enabled him to receive his Father’s constant and effective support while doing his will.”

What do you think?

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Did you survive the blizzard?

I've been doing a lot of snow shoveling the past couple of days. My neighbor has a snow blower and it looks nice, but I would rather do it the old fashioned way and burn some calories. It's a bummer when you get things cleared out and then a snow plow goes by creating a small mountain around the cars you just cleared out.

Well, enough of that. Next week I'm going to start a series of notes and reflections from Dallas Willard's book The Spirit of the Disciplines. This is a sweet book! I just started reading it this week and had to read chapters 1 and 2 twice. Some really good stuff in there. If you have read this already I would appreciate your 2 cents as I truck through this book.