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The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives Paperback – May 5, 1999
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The Spirit of the Disciplines places solitude and silence, prayer, simple and sacrificial living, meditation upon God's word and ways, and service to others at the heart of the gospel. "We need a deeper insight into our practical relationship to God in redemption," Willard writes. "We need an understanding that can guide us into constant interaction with the Kingdom of God." Speaking to what Willard identifies as "a widespread and deep longing among Christians and non-Christians alike for the personal purity and power to live as our hearts tell us we should," the observation of the disciplines can make the process of deepening and revitalizing our relationship with God a part of daily existence.
"We can increasingly resemble Christ in character and in power by following him in his overall style of life," Willard affirms. "This was the method of his earliest disciples, and it is as valid today as it was then...To enter into and increasingly master such a life is what having faith in Christ really means." To enter into the spirit and practice of the disciplines is to move toward the authentic life of faith. The Spirit of the Disciplines is an intelligent, thoughtful guide to an enriched spiritual life, a book about how to live as Christ lived, directed to those who hope to be his disciples in deed as well as intention. It details why the disciplines are essential to our deliverance from the concrete power of sin, and outlines the ways they can help each of us achieve the blessings of the companionship of Christ.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
For study on God's role in sanctification you need to look to books like "Transforming Grace," by Jerry Bridges, or "Holiness by Grace," by Brian Chappel. Both books do an excellent job of bringing out the fact that God's grace is the thing that enables a man to engage in spiritual disciplines. Also, Jerry Bridges book "The Discipline of Grace," is probably the best book dealing with both God's role and man's role.
I give these commercials for other books simply to prevent the reader from thinking that Willard's book is the whole story on sanctification. If this is the only, or the main book that you read, frustration is inevitable, simply because Willard does not point you back to the source of our sanctification, or the source of our ability to practice spiritual disciplines, which is the grace of God.
Having said all of that, I heartily recommend the book. I think the most useful thing that Willard said was his comparison of the Christian life to athletics. He has a great illustration of how kids will idolize a major league baseball player (this illustration will work for any sport).Read more ›
However, I felt that was clearly stated in the first chapter, then comes 5 to 6 chapters of study on theology with heavy emphasis on epistemology. The writing style is difficult to read. Sentences are often long: 20-30 words in a single sentence. The headings are enigmatic (I was trying to take notes in a mind map as I went along and had a really hard time). The author also quotes others so often it is hard to follow HIS thoughts. When the time finally came (I wrote in my notes, FINALLY) to talk about the actual disciplines, it was only a chapter in length. I know that is not the main focus of the book, but nonetheless it seemed unbalanced after spending 200 pages promoting the Disciplines.
I was disappointed. My pastor in college really loved his other book: Divine Conspiracy. Therefore I was looking forward to read this author. I know part of the issue is that perhaps I am not used to his style of philosophical writing, but I don't think just because something is deep, it can't be made easy to understand.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Only about 25% done, but have found it to be very enlightening. This book was recommended to me by a close friend who demonstrates mature Christ likeness. Read morePublished 27 days ago by somobeda
It's Dallas Willard. Take your time reading it. I hope it blesses you.Published 1 month ago by Eve Green
A challenging, but beautiful read. At the end of the day, are we prepared to become the kind of people we were designed to be? Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jared
I think this should go on the list of any reader of Christian literature. Dallas Willard is highly regarded by his peers because he tells the truth and does not mince words or try... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Still reading; don't really like electronic books like this one. Like to mark them up, flip the pages back & forth, lay it on my chest while I rest my eyes. Read morePublished 3 months ago by mjd