- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: NavPress; Anniversary edition (June 28, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1615216324
- ISBN-13: 978-1615216321
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.7 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 239 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,591 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Renovation of the Heart: Putting On the Character of Christ Paperback – June 14, 2012
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From the Back Cover
Renovation of the Heart lays a biblical foundation for understanding what best-selling author Dallas Willard calls 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.” This fresh approach to spiritual growth explains the biblical reasons why Christians need to undergo change in six aspects of life: thought, feeling, will, body, social context, and soul. Willard also outlines a general pattern of transformation in each area, not as a sterile formula but rather as a practical process that can be followed without the guilt or perfectionism so many Christians wrestle with.
Don’t settle for complacency. Accept the challenge Renovation of the Heart offers to become an intentional apprentice of Jesus Christ, changing daily as you walk with Him.
About the Author
the School of Philosophy at the University of Southern
California. He received his PhD from the University of
Wisconsin and is the best-selling author of more than
thirty publications, including The Divine Conspiracy,
The Spirit of the Disciplines,
and Hearing God.
Top customer reviews
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Willard’s book is essentially divided into two major sections. The first section begins by defining authentic spiritual formation. Willard emphasizes how true spiritual formation is not just about the external, but it is more about inward obedience and conformity to Christ (Chapter 1, Location 215). In setting up the second half of the book, Willard states that the major obstacle to spiritual formation is self-worship, whereas self-denial is the foundation of its renovation (Chapter 5, Location 983). For spiritual formation to be effective, this self-denial needs to happen in one’s whole self – namely, these six areas: spirit, mind, body, social context, and soul (Chapter 2, Location 330). As a result, a strategy to transform each of these essential dimensions to Christlikeness composes the second section of his book.
I love how Willard focuses on the change that needs to happen in the inner world of the individual, instead of merely trying to focus on changing one’s behavior. It is powerful when he mentions what has already happened in Western Christianity because of our overt focus on the external – all of the “notorious failures of Christian leaders.” (Chapter 5, Location 1013). This point is especially relevant to me as I tend to have very legalistic tendencies, coupled with a love to please others and look good in front of others. In order to not be one of those “notorious Christian leaders,” I need to keep the vision of the Kingdom of God in front of me constantly. In addition to the right vision, I need to have the intention to obey Jesus, and also develop the means to change my inner being “until it is substantially like his, characterized by his thoughts, feelings, habits, and relationship to the Father.” (Chapter 5, Location 1186). I love how all the means for spiritual formation are not under my control; I need to constantly depend on God’s grace, believing that he is the one enacting this formative process in me (Chapter 5, Location 1062).
Rather than haphazardly referring to individuals as needing spiritual transformation and then giving suggestions on how to do so, I appreciate how Willard divides the six areas of one’s life and presents a plan for spiritual formation within each of these areas. By differentiating these six areas in an individual, Willard faced the potential to present a compartmentalized path to spiritual formation, though I am not convinced he did so. He differentiated these six areas, while noting that each of these areas need to work in an integrative and holistic manner for spiritual formation to truly occur. Consequently, I find this book to be so beneficial for ministry as it provides a simple and comprehensive guide to discipleship that one can lead another individual through to grow in Christlikeness.
In this book, Willard introduces the concept of "spiritual formation," and goes through all of the various parts of the human being that need to be renovated, or transformed: the mind, the will, the body, the soul, and even the social dimension of the person. He tackles each of these dimensions individually in one or two chapters each.
He finishes the work with talking about how we need to be children of light, and then goes into a final chapter about how this all should play out in the local congregation.
There are many moments in this book that caused me to stop and think about what he had written, most especially what he wrote concerning being and making disciples, from Matthew 28:18-20. I'll end this with a quote from Ray Stedman, that Dallas quoted in the last chapter.
"God's first concern is not what the church does, it is what the church is. Being must always precede doing, for what we do will be according to what we are. To understand the moral character of God's people is a primary essential in understanding the nature of the church. As Christians we are to be a moral example to the world, reflecting the character of Jesus Christ." (From Ray Stedman's book, Body Life: The Church Comes Alive)
For anyone interested in spiritual formation, this is a must read.