Dallas Willard Quotes

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Dallas Willard (September 4, 1935 – ) is an American philosophy professor and author born in Buffalo, Missouri. His work in philosophy has been primarily in phenomenology, particularly the work of Edmund Husserl. His more popular work has been in the area of Christian spiritual formation, within the various expressions of historic Christian orthodoxy. In addition to teaching and writing about philosophy, Willard gives lectures and writes books about Christianity and Christian living. His book The Divine Conspiracy was Christianity Today’s Book of the Year for 1999. Another of his books, Renovation of the Heart, won Christianity Today’s 2003 Book Award for books on Spirituality and The Association of Logos Bookstores’ 2003 Book Award for books on Christian Living.

Though Willard evades easy categorization, he believes passivity to be a widespread problem in the Church, so his emphasis on choice and action and classical spiritual disciplines often make it hard for Reformed-minded thinkers to recognize his high view of God’s sovereignty. An emphasis in his teaching is his theology of the Kingdom of God, which is similar to that of N.T. Wright, George Eldon Ladd, and Gordon Fee. He has been influenced by many, including Maritain, Aquinas, Augustine, Forsyth, John Calvin and John Wesley, William Law, Andrew Murray, Richard Baxter, Teresa of Avila, Francis de Sales, Brother Lawrence, and the Rule of St. Benedict.

“A leader enables people to love and honor the role they play in the organization or group they are part of”

-Dallas Willard

“The biggest problem in leadership is my kingdom.”

-Dallas Willard

“Grace is not just about forgiveness but about life.”

-Dallas Willard

What we can accomplish as good as it may be does not compare to what God can accomplish

-Dallas Willard

Two ways of thinking: Human kingdom and human cleverness or God’s kingdom and God’s cleverness

-Dallas Willard

“The aim of spiritual formation is not behavior modification but the transformation of all those aspects of you and me where behavior comes from…Circumcision of the heart.”

-Dallas Willard

“In Spiritual formation we are aiming at a character and life that is so shaped that the deeds of Christ routinely and easily come from what is inside.”

-Dallas Willard

Obedience to Christ is the easy way, ”take my yoke…

-Dallas Willard

“The will is your power of origination and how it is set is the primary thing you have to attend to”

-Dallas Willard

“The Spiritual disciplines are wisdom and not righteousness.”

-Dallas Willard

“If you do not fall in love with God spiritual disciplines will become legalism”

-Dallas Willard

We need to understand that Jesus is a thinker, that this is not a dirty word but an essential work, and that his other attributes do not preclude thought, but only ensure that he is certainly the greatest thinker of the human race: “the most intelligent person who ever lived on earth.”

-Dallas Willard

“There is no problem in human life that apprenticeship to Jesus cannot solve.”

-Dallas Willard

“prayer is talking with God about what we are doing together.”

-Dallas Willard

I think we finally have to say that Jesus’ enduring relevance is based on his historically proven ability to speak to, to heal and empower the individual human condition. He matters because of what he brought and what he still brings to ordinary human beings, living their ordinary lives and coping daily with their surroundings. He promises wholeness for their lives. In sharing our weakness he gives us strength and imparts through his companionship a life that has the quality of eternity. He comes where we are, and he brings us the life we hunger for. An early report reads, “Life was in him, life that made sense of human existence” (John 1:4). To be the light of life, and to deliver God’s life to women and men where they are and as they are, is the secret of the enduring relevance of Jesus. Suddenly they are flying right-side up, in a world that makes sense.

-Dallas Willard

The greatest challenge the church faces today is to be authentic disciples of Jesus. And by that I mean they’re learning from Him how to live their life, as He would live their life if He were they. So that means, whatever I am, whoever I am, I take Him into my whole life as my Lord. Lord means that He’s my teacher. Another way of putting this is to say that our greatest challenge is to recover Jesus the Teacher. You know, if you don’t have a teacher you can’t have a disciple. Disciples are just students. Unfortunately, it’s a long and convoluted story, but roughly over the last two hundred years, Jesus as Teacher has simply disappeared. Whether Liberal or Conservative, it doesn’t make any difference. This is the unfortunate fact, and it lies at the foundation of the efforts of many people today to find a different form for the Church

–Dallas Willard

“Spirituality” wrongly understood or pursued is a major source of human misery and rebellion against God.

-Dallas Willard

Jesus said, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my father I have made know to you” (john 15:15) God calls you his friend. He wants to talk to you personally and frequently. As Dallas Willard writes, “The ideal for divine guidance is…a conversational relationship with God: the sort of relationship suited to friends who are mature personalities in a shared enterprise.” Asking questions, what are you teaching me here God? What are you asking me to do? Or what do you want me to let go of? What in my heart are you speaking to?

-Dallas Willard

The greatest need you and I have—the greatest need of collective humanity—is renovation of our heart. That spiritual place with in us from which outlook, choices, and actions come has been formed by a world away from God. Now it must be transformed. Indeed, the only hope of humanity lies in the fact that, as our spiritual dimension has been formed, so it also can be transformed.

-Dallas Willard

Churches are not the kingdom of God, but are primary and inevitable expressions, outposts, and instrumentalities of presence of the kingdom among us. They are ‘societies’ of Jesus.

-Dallas Willard

Jesus offers himself as God’s doorway into the life that is truly life. Confidence in him leads us today, as in other times, to become his apprentices in eternal living. “Those who come though me will be safe,” he said. “They will go in and out and find all they need. I have come into their world that they may have life, and life to the fullest.

-Dallas Willard (Divine Conspiracy)

‘Gospel of Sin Management’ “History has brought us to the point where the Christian message is thought to be essential concerned only with how to deal with sin: with wrongdoing or wrong-being and its effects. Life, our actual existence, is not included in what is now presented as the heart of the Christian message, or it is included only marginally.

-Dallas Willard (Divine Conspiracy)

Dallas Willard warns us too of the “cost of non-discipleship.” We may be able to live with some pain, but when our whole self becomes more and more rotten, the cost is far greater than dealing with the problem as soon as possible. This is why I think following Jesus, though challenging, is much easier than following anything else. The world has nothing better to offer me. Jesus has come to right my wrongs and to make me refreshingly new.

-Dallas Willard

“You have been given a ministry and your ministry is not your job and your job and your ministry are two things and beyond that is your work in life which isn’t the same as your ministry and then beyond that is your life. And this is what God is more interested in than your work or your ministry—what He gets out of your life is the person you become. And He has plans for you, and these are long-range plans.”

-Dallas Willard

“My central claim is that we become like Christ by doing one thing—by following Him in the overall style of life He chose for Himself. If we have faith in Christ, we must believe that He knew how to live. We can, through faith and grace, become like Christ by practicing the types of activities He engaged in, by arranging our whole lives around the activities He Himself practiced in order to remain constantly at home in the fellowship of the Father.”

-Dallas Willard

“’Repent, for the kingdom of the heavens is at hand’ (Matt 3:2, 4:17, 10:7). This is a call for us to reconsider how we have been approaching our life, in light of the fact that we now, in the presence of Jesus, have the option of living within the surrounding movements of God’s eternal purposes, of taking our life into his life.”

-Dallas Willard (Divine Conspiracy)

The revolution of Jesus is in the first place and continuously a revolution of the human heart or spirit…it is a revolution of character which proceeds by changing people from the inside through ongoing personal relationship to God in Christ and to one another. It is one that changes their ideas, beliefs, feelings, and habits of choice, as well as their bodily tendencies and social relations. It penetrates to the deepest layer of their soul. External, social arrangements may be used to this end, but they are not the end, nor are they a fundamental part of the means

-Dallas Willard

We live from our heart. The part of us that drives and organizes our life is not the physical. This remains true even if we deny it. You have a spirit within you and it has been formed.   It has taken on a specific character. I have a spirit and it has been formed. This is true of everyone. The human spirit is an inescapable, fundamental aspect of every human being; and it takes on whichever character it has from experiences and the choices that we have lived through or mad in our past. That is what it means for it to be ‘formed’. Our life and how we find the world now and in the future is, almost totally, a simple result of what we have become in the depths of our being—in our spirit, will, or heart. From there we see our world and interpret reality. From there we make choices, break forth into action, try to change our world. We live from our depths.

-Dallas Willard

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