What is Christian? (Spirit of the Disciplines 3-4)

In my life as a pastor, I have met people who:
Deserted their families for another and never bothered with their children or former spouse again
Sexually and physically abused their children
Stole money and possessions
Were consumed with hatred, bitterness, anger and hostility

The one thing they had in common: They all claimed to be Christians.

They all said their Christianity was based on a prayer they once prayed. They had no idea how to deal with the indiscipline, lust, anger, hate, bitterness, and general evil that remains lodged in their hearts. And worse, they think Christianity really cannot help them change.
Willard begins chapter 3 with the question, “Why is it that we look upon our salvation as a moment that began our religious life instead of the daily life we receive from God?”
Willard says our Christianity is not a moment that we pray a prayer. It is not that we take Christ to work or bring Him into our homes. But these phrases indicate that Christ was not in our work or at our home before that moment.
Willard says our failure to realize the disciplines working out in the body is the reason we do not realize salvation is a life that we live. Christ acted in humility, faith, and compassion because He had a deep inner life of solitude, fasting, prayer, and service. These disciplines served as a core for what He did.
So, instead of thinking of salvation as a moment in the past where we said “yes” to Jesus, we need to look at it as a daily transformation that changes us into Christlikeness. Salvation is not only forgiveness of sin but transformation of our whole life.


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