How to Live as Jesus Lived Dallas Willard, one of today's most brilliant Christian thinkers and author of The Divine Conspiracy (Christianity Today's 1999 Book of the Year), presents a way of living that enables ordinary men and women to enjoy the fruit of the Christian life. He reveals how the key to self-transformation resides in the practice of the spiritual disciplines, and how their practice affirms human life to the fullest. The Spirit of the Disciplines is for everyone who strives to be a disciple of Jesus in thought and action as well as intention.
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Willard provides clear definitions of several of the classic disciplines, benefits they can bring to a church and individual believers, and practical ways of doing them. He devotes a substantial chapter to the question of poverty as a spiritual discipline, asking the question, "Is Poverty Spiritual?"
One thing Willard does well in all his writing is provoke critical self-examination without laying on a guilt trip. The result is often (at least for me) either repentance, spiritual enlightenment or both. The book contains chapter endnotes, a full bibliography, and name, subject, and scripture indices.
Willard's view of discipleship is wise in that he emphasizes the need to address the whole person -- mind, body and spirit -- in the path of discipleship. He avoids the tendencies of some to reduce Christian discipleship to mere training of the mind. This has been a tendency of mine anyhow and I found his more broad emphasis to be helpful.
There is a discussion regarding various specific disciplines. They are divided up between disciplines of abstinence and disciplines of engagement. Each gets a brief description with recommendations regarding their use.
Willard is known for his sometimes dry writing style and it certainly comes through in this work. I say this because the chapter titled "Is Poverty Spiritual?" near the end of the book is easily worth the price of the book on it's own. If you find yourself getting bogged down in the middle of the book, skip ahead to this chapter.
Overall this is a helpful work for those looking for an overview of spiritual disciplines and how they are helpful and even necessary in the maintenance and growth of Christian faith and discipleship.
Key quote = “We have one realistic hope for dealing with the world’s problems. And that is the person and gospel
"Christianity has not so much been tried and found wanting, as it has been found difficult and left untried." G. K. Chesterton
"to think that following Jesus consists of loving our enemies...while living the rest of our lives just as
"'teaching them to do all things whatsoever I have commanded you' the Great Omission from the Great Commission" Dallas Willard