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  • Writer's pictureMrsMollyWilcox

Book Review: Renovation of the Heart by Dallas Willard

If you love deep theology chats and want more from Christianity than simply "getting into heaven" then Dallas Willard's book "Renovation of the Heart" might be the perfect next read for you.

Willard courageously addresses a problem with Christianity that feels all too familiar. Have you ever met a Christian who seems exactly the same as they were before they were saved? Or maybe you feel like you are the Christian struggling with the same things you've always struggled with, unable to leave them in the past?

There is a difference between salvation (the moment you receive God's free gift of grace through Jesus) and sanctification (the process of the Holy Spirit at work in us, transforming us to be more like Christ and renewing our minds.)

If you want to delve deep into what the process of sanctification can look like in your walk with God, this book is for you!

Here are a few of my key takeaways:

"Today we are apt to downplay or disregard the importance of good thinking to strong faith; and some, disastrously, even regard thinking as opposed to faith. They do not realize that in so doing they are not honoring God."

A theme throughout this book is the power of our thought lives. Willard argues for deep thinkers in the Christian faith because thinkers are leaders. Faith and intelligence aren't contradictory but actually go hand and hand.

"The result is that the outward life of the individual increasingly becomes a natural expression of the inner reality of Jesus and of his teachings. Doing what he said and did increasingly becomes a part of who we are."

Many Christians today feel disconnected from their bodies. However, Willard is convinced that the body is an important part of our witness to the world and should experience transformation like our minds, hearts, and wills. He walks through the process of how the transformation happens throughout the book.

"Spiritual formation, good or bad, is always profoundly social. You cannot keep it to yourself. Anyone who thinks of it as a private matter has misunderstood it...For all that is between me and God affects who I am; and that, in turn, modifies my relationship to everyone around me. My relationship to others also modifies me and deeply affects my relationship to God. Hence those relationships must be transformed if I am to be transformed."

In a world where we are hyper individualized and convinced that what we do doesn't impact anyone around us...Willard make it clear that for the Christian life it's the exact opposite. While the world might try to convince us that privacy and isolation are the easier way, it's clear in scripture that spiritual formation happens together.

To experience true spiritual formation, we have to be willing to get social.

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