For the past two weeks, first from Evelyn Underhill and then from Eugene Peterson, we have heard about a certain kind of passivity in the Christian walk. Today, let’s listen to Dallas Willard,
“[Disciplines are] activities we engage in that are within our power and enable us to do what we cannot do by direct effort, because in this way we meet the action of God (grace) with us, and the outcome is humanly inexplicable. This is what it means to speak of discipline as ‘a means to grace.’ They are required in every area of life, including the spiritual. A Spiritual Discipline – on the Christian understanding—is a discipline focused upon enhancement of the interactive life of Grace in the (spiritual) Kingdom of the Heavens.”
I could hear Underhill and Peterson speaking of one thing and Willard of another. I could hear Underhill and Peterson speaking “against” Willard. Is that what I should be hearing?
Is it possible that all three are speaking of different perspectives on what we sometime call “spiritual formation” and sometime call “growing in Christlikeness”?
I would suggest we need to hear the truth in the words of each.
I would also suggest that the words will find us at different places in our journey at different times, and we will hear one louder than the other.
What do you hear the loudest today? Why do you think that is? Does it call you to any discernment about the next steps in your journey?