Discipleship = Discipline

I’ve read a great deal on, taught through, and, most importantly, practiced the spiritual disciplines over the course of my new life in Christ (some 35+ years). Though practicing the spiritual disciplines often churn and agitate slowly, they are without doubt the most important habits to help form and transform me into becoming the full and complete “me” as God intends.

Dallas Willard_thirdNo one else has helped me more in developing the character of “Christ in me” than the writings and teachings of Dallas Willard. And so, when I landed upon this compilation of his teachings, I was delighted to learn of this tribute titled “An Orientation to Four Pervading Themes of the Christian Life from Dallas Willard” by Klaus Issler (HT: Scot McKnight). In it, Issler identifies four themes that Willard used to frame his understanding of the spiritual disciplines. As I reflect back on Willard’s writings, I find these themes very helpful to outline a taxonomy in which to begin the rewarding disciplines for a disciple of Christ.

  1. Christian Formation is Uniquely Empowered within the Kingdom of God, which is Now Uniquely Present with the coming of Jesus
  2. Christian Formation is about following Jesus and Putting Jesus’ Words into Practice
  3. Christian Formation is about the Inner Formation of the Heart
  4. Christian Formation includes Spiritual Practices with our Physical Bodies

I don’t pretend to offer a comprehensive list of all the disciplines, and many others have suggested more or less, but those that I’ve written on are:

Spiritual Disciplines: What Are They?
Spiritual Disciplines: Prayer, Fasting, Journaling
Spiritual Disciplines: Memorization, Meditation
Spiritual Disciplines: Solitude, Silence, Simplicity
Spiritual Disciplines: Modeling Jesus (Obedience)
Spiritual Disciplines: Secrecy, Sacrifice
Spiritual Disciplines: Service, Submission
Spiritual Disciplines: Fellowship, Confession
Spiritual Disciplines: Worship, Celebration
Spiritual Disciplines: Recommended Reading

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