How many people are radically and permanently repelled from The Way by Christians who are unfeeling, stiff, unapproachable, boringly lifeless, obsessive, and dissatisfied? Yet such Christians are everywhere, and what they are missing is the wholesome liveliness springing from a balanced vitality within the freedom of God’s loving rule. . . “Spirituality” wrongly understood or pursued is a major source of human misery and rebellion against God. Think of the irony: spiritual life leading to lifelessness: Spiritual growth producing misery. A life supposedly yielded to God rebelling against him!
–Dallas Willard, ‘The Spirit of the Disciplines’
Obviously, it’s not supposed to be this way, yet for many, it’s the sad truth. When people are not being authentically transformed—when they are not becoming more loving, joyful, or Christlike—they often settle for what might be called “pseudo-transformation.”
We know that somehow we are supposed to “be different” than those outside the church. But if our heart isn’t involved in the changing process, we will look for superficial or visible ways of demonstrating that we are “spiritual.” Spiritual transformation is a reality for those who desire it. It is, in fact, the essence of Christ’s work in our hearts. I fully admit to needing the power that raised Christ from the grave (Eph. 1:19, 20) to affect change in my life. That is the beginning of actualizing the transformation! But, remember, it is a process and not a destination. This process looks different in everyone’s life, but the common denominator is that it must be happening. We must be “people in process.” This is the question begging to be asked of each of us: “Is it happening in my life?”
Prayerfully ask the Lord if transformation is taking place in your life. Confess your self-absorbed stubbornness to Him. He welcomes our open confession! Purpose — by His might — to allow Him to bring about continual transformation!