Why aren’t Christians more “Christian” (Renovation of the Heart Chapter 5)

Chapter 5
Why do so many professing Christians fail to live lives that reflect the fact they claim to be followers of Christ?
This is one of the big questions for me personally. It troubles me that so many people who claim to follow Christ, don’t. At least when it comes to their real life. So, how does this disconnect happen?
The main reason Willard gives for people’s failure to live the transformed life is that they lack VIM: Vision, Intention, Means.
Vision – We must have the insight of kingdom life in the here and now as well as for eternity. We need to understand the system God has set up for all those who would follow Christ. The teachings of Christ give us a clear compass for life in the kingdom.
Yet, people don’t live out the transformed life, Willard says, because they don’t think it is possible. Willard says that all we need to do is look around us and we will think that real transformation is not even possible: “Although there is much talk about ‘changing lives’ in Christian circles, the reality is very rare, and certainly much less common than the talk.”
Ultimately, so many professing Christians sink into the view that a “low level of spiritual living among professing Christians is to be regarded as ‘only natural.’” These people believe that real change can’t really take place on earth. Therefore, they have no real intention of changing because they do not ever catch the vision of what they are meant to be.
Intention – We must actually decide to live out the vision of kingdom life as it is presented to us in the Scripture. One of the great problems in Christianity is that so many Christians are under the illusion that “you can trust Christ and not intend to obey Him.”
Willard says we have to confront our own disbelief and skepticism about life in the kingdom. We have to decide that we will obey Him. We have to follow through on our intention to obey in every area of our lives.
Means – We must find the ways to put in to practice the vision and intention that grow in us as we come to understand life in the kingdom of God. This requires we search out things in our lives that prevent us from living as God has called us to live and defeating those things in order to become the kind of person who lives the kingdom life.
When people lack vision, intention, and means to live out their transformation, we cannot expect real change. And this is where we find many people who call themselves Christians. They either lack vision for who God has called them to be, or lack intention to seriously move toward that visions, or cannot figure out how to get there though they see it and want it.


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