13 Aug Book Reflection on Renovation of the Heart
Book Reflection on Renovation of the Heart
In a world where “individual desire has become the standard for everything.”, Dallas Willard, in Renovation of the Heart, writes about transformation of the spirit into the character of Christ, which is counter intuitive to the standard in which our culture is rooted. This book outlines a foundation of seeing oneself as the creation of God that can be transformed, not through deeds of our own but by allowing God to do the work within us as we actively engage in relationship with him. By including spiritual disciplines that draw upon His grace in our lives in order to sustain the sanctification process that daily life can provide, we become closer to God, reflecting his love, becoming more Christlike. This book is a guide in explaining the different dimensions of life as it effects spiritual formation and how the process of formation results in an outward expression of what has been formed within. We are all spiritually formed in one way or another but those who look to be formed into the likeness of Christ must take an active participation in their relationship with God but that participation must be with God in the control seat.
There are so many places of conviction that I prayed through in this book. One of the first was how idolatry was explained as putting myself in the place of God. When I take control and make sure I’m getting the outcome that I desire by manipulation, attitude or withdrawal, I am in essence making myself God. I thoroughly connected to what Willard was referring to about feelings and how they can be good servants but disastrous masters. WOW! I have a ton of life experience letting my feelings get the best of me. I have been learning for a long time how to walk away from destructive feelings but the chapter on feelings was validating. I am now in a place where I see that its necessary to properly cultivate the good feelings with which my life is blessed. By doing this I remain in a place of gratitude and thanksgiving.
My most memorable take-away from this book was the chapter on the body. I had never considered that when I give myself to God that I should also be offering my physical body as a living sacrifice. As a result of this revelation, on one of my silent days, I decided to lay down, close my eyes and pray through each part of my body starting from the feet all the way up and offering each part to God for service to his will and purpose. The interesting thing was that when I got to my head, I literally offered my brain and all its synapsis where my thoughts are formed and my head and mouth where words spill forth. I offered ALL of me to God; every single cell. It had never occurred to me until this book how I take my body for granted and how I think of it as “MINE” to do with as I wish. There was a conversation recently with my husband where he spoke to me about us going to the gym, not because he thought we looked bad but because he thought we should be healthy and take care of ourselves in order to protect our lives so as to see as much of our daughter’s life as possible. My honest thought was “I don’t really care about living a long time. I just want to get it over with so I can get to heaven.” While getting to heaven is not a bad goal, my thoughts were not treasuring the gift of my physical body which has been given to me for God’s will and his purpose. That furthered my awareness of how my body, my time, my talents and everything in my being are all great gifts that I must steward with care, respect and gratitude. My thoughts and attitudes are also profoundly affected by the care and condition of my physical being which in turn affects those around me; how I eat, what I eat, what I drink, if I don’t drink enough, am I getting enough exercise or physical activity. The focus is not self-motivated by self-image or what I want to feel and how I can control myself but rather taking care of what God has given me for his glory and my awareness of how I affect others in my life. How grateful I am for my body and all God has done and will do through me as his vessel. I am profoundly effected by how everything is interconnected and by starting with God not only do I get taken care of but then others around me, who are connected to me are taken care of too. My desire toward God now includes the desire to keep myself well, to take care of my body, heart, mind, soul and spirit and to have my will be aligned with the will of God. As I abide in Christ and he abides in me, I hope to share with others the goodness of Christ in my life.