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What Does "Spiritual Maturity" Look Like? Manifesto Part 2

As with "Kingdom Living Essentials" the following summarizes valuable insights taught by Dr. Dallas Willard.

Simple Checkpoints / How is the renovation of my heart going? 11

  • How easy is it to irritate me?

    • "Irritation comes out of overconcern, lack of rest, trying too hard to make something happen..." and "God never gives anyone too much to do."

  • Where does my mind go immediately (upon emergency - or delight)?

    • Is my mind constantly returning to God, as a compass always returns to north?

  • How easy is it for me to obey the things Jesus said?

    • Routine, easy, obedience is the outcome of an increasingly renovated heart.

  • How is my capacity to pay attention to the people I’m dealing with?

    • The first act of love is attention.

  • What is my body “at the ready” to do?

    • Re-train so “to act before thinking” is Christlike.

"To be spiritually-minded…that is, to be focused on our nature as spiritual beings and on our place in God’s eternal life and kingdom…is life and peace.1 " Romans 8:6

Summary – God’s Plan for Spiritual Formation 10

(Matt. 28:18-20)

  1. Make Disciples – "As you go...wherever you go...teach them all things..." How to do what Jesus said, how to live as Jesus would.

    1. Transforming disciples in such a way that obeying Jesus isn’t the focus but the natural outcome.

  2. Immerse Apprentices in the Trinitarian presence.

    1. Being must precede doing.

Local congregations would be entirely devoted to spiritual formation, as directed in Matthew 28:18-20. Center everything on becoming people who have the character of Christ – becoming children of light. The exclusive primary goal: spiritual formation into Christlikeness. 10

"That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither..." Psalm 1:3

A Description of Children of the Light 1

In Our Thought Life (mind, ideas, images) 3

  • Centered on God and his greatness….Truth

  • God is never out of their mind.

In Our Feelings (mind, emotions) 4

  • Love, joy, peace are conditions of the soul, not just feelings.

  • Deeply characterized by love

  • Love good things and people.

  • Love their lives and who they are.

  • Heartily abandoned to God

In Our Will (spirit, heart) 5

  • Devoted to doing what is good and right.

  • Surrender -> abandonment -> contentment -> participation

In Our Body 6

  • Constantly poised to do what is good and right without thinking.

  • Not trapped by the body’s auto-response

  • Strong, rested, playful.

In Our Social Relations 7

  • Completely transparent

  • Patient and joyful non-participation in evil

In Our Soul 8

  • Deeply rooted, at home in God. All the above is effortless.

  • A person who is prepared and capable of responding to the situations of life in ways that are ‘good and right’ is a person whose soul is in order, under the direction of a well-kept heart, in turn under the direction of God.9

Death to Self

I’m ok if I don’t get my way.” ~ John Ortberg. We will not be surprised or offended at not getting what we want.

  • As Saint Francis of Assisi said, we will “wear the world like a loose garment, which touches us in few places and there lightly.”

  • ·Apprentices of Jesus know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God…Rom. 8:28

  • "They do not have to look out for themselves because they are not in charge of their lives; rather, God is. They appropriately look after things that concern them, but they do not worry about outcomes that merely adversely affect their own desires and feelings. They are free to focus their efforts on the service of God and others and the furthering of good." 2

  • "It is love of God, admiration and confidence in his goodness and greatness, and the regular experience of his care that frees us from the burden of looking out for ourselves." 2

The Proper Ordering of Self with / under God


1. Dallas Willard: Renovation of the Heart, p176

2. Dallas Willard & Jan Johnson: Renovation of the Heart in Daily Practice; p47, p49,

3. Dallas Willard: Renovation of the Heart, chapter 6: “Transforming the Mind, Part 1: Spiritual Formation and the Thought Life”

4. Dallas Willard: Renovation of the Heart, chapter 7: “Transforming the Mind, Part 2: Spiritual Formation and Our Feelings”

5. Dallas Willard: Renovation of the Heart, chapter 8: “Transforming the Will (Heart or Spirit)”

6. Dallas Willard: Renovation of the Heart, chapter 9: “Transforming the Body”

7. Dallas Willard: Renovation of the Heart, chapter 10: “Transforming Our Social Dimension”

8. Dallas Willard: Renovation of the Heart, chapter 11: “Transforming The Soul”

9. Dallas Willard: Renovation of the Heart, p26

10. Dallas Willard: Renovation of the Heart, p253; chapter 13: “Spiritual Formation in the Local Congregation”

11. Dallas Willard: Renovation of the Heart, p277


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