October 20, 2014

Dallas Willard Quotes

Dallas-Willard-Quotes-3“Anyone who really wants to be a follower of Jesus,” said my pastor, “needs to read this book.” Those were heavy words from this pastor. I knew if he said I should read something, he most likely was right. And he was. “This book” was The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God by Dallas Willard. It was my introduction to a writer and teacher who had a profound influence on my life by his words.

Dallas Willard passed away yesterday at the age of 77.

I want to share some passages from Willard’s writings, not as a way for you to skip reading his books, but as a way to whet your appetite for all he wrote. Words—spoken or written—are only of value if we let them into our lives in a way that we are changed for good. Dallas Willard’s words changed me for good. I pray they will you as well.

“Grace is not opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning. Earning is an attitude. Effort is an action. Grace, you know, does not just have to do with forgiveness of sins alone.”
The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus’s Essential Teachings on Discipleship

“The test of character posed by the gentleness of God’s approach to us is especially dangerous for those formed by the ideas that dominate our modern world. We live in a culture that has, for centuries now, cultivated the idea that the skeptical person is always smarter than one who believes. You can be almost as stupid as a cabbage, as long as you doubt. The fashion of the age has identified mental sharpness with a pose, not with genuine intellectual method and character. Only a very hardy individualist or social rebel — or one desperate for another life — therefore stands any chance of discovering the substantiality of the spiritual life today. Today it is the skeptics who are the social conformists, though because of powerful intellectual propaganda they continue to enjoy thinking of themselves as wildly individualistic and unbearably bright.”  Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God

“The greatest issue facing the world today, with all its heartbreaking needs, is whether those who, by profession or culture, are identified as ‘Christians’ will become disciples – students, apprentices, practitioners – of Jesus Christ, steadily learning from him how to live the life of the Kingdom of the Heavens into every corner of human existence.” The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus’s Essential Teachings on Discipleship

“What is truly profound is thought to be stupid and trivial, or worse, boring, while what is actually stupid and trivial is thought to be profound. That is what it means to fly upside down.” The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God

“Kingdom praying and its efficacy is entirely a matter of the innermost heart’s being totally open and honest before God. It is a matter of what we are saying with our whole being, moving with resolute intent and clarity of mind into the flow of God’s action.” The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God

“[Jesus] matters because of what he brought and what he still brings to ordinary human beings, living their ordinary lives and coping daily with their surroundings. He promises wholeness for their lives. In sharing our weaknesses he gives us strength and and imparts through his companionship a life that has the quality of eternity.”
The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God

“God is the treasure, and where the treasure is, there is the heart. By this we may test our love to God. What are our thoughts most upon? Can we say we are ravished with delight when we think on God? Have our thoughts got wings? Are they fled aloft? Do we contemplate Christ and glory?… A sinner crowds God out of his thoughts. He never thinks of God, unless with horror, as the prisoner thinks of the judge.”
The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus’s Essential Teachings on Discipleship

“Few people arise in the morning as hungry for God as they are for cornflakes or toast and eggs.”
Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God

“In many cases, our need to wonder about or be told what God wants in a certain situation is nothing short of a clear indication of how little we are engaged in His work.”
Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God

“The union Christ had with the Father was the greatest that we can conceive of in this life—if indeed we can conceive of it. Yet we have no indication that even Jesus was constantly awash with revelations as to what he should do. His union with the Father was so great that he was at all times obedient. This obedience was something that rested in his mature will and understanding of his life before God, not on always being told “Now do this” and “Now do that” with regard to every details of his life or work.”
Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God

“The cautious faith that never saws off a limb on which it is sitting, never learns that unattached limbs may find strange unaccountable ways of not falling.”

Comments

  1. I sincerely love Dallas Willard’s work.

    When I read the Divine Conspiracy, there were a few things in there that genuinely offended me. I wanted to throw the book across the room. But as I gradually got further in, I realized he was saying some of the most profound, most needed words I could be reading. I love his explanation of the Kingdom of God and eternal life. His teaching will stay with me forever, I believe. Thank you, Dallas.

  2. How about a few more:

    “And God has set up prayer in such a way that, if you want to explain it away, you can. That’s the human mind. God set it up like that for a reason, which is this: God ordained that people should be governed in the end by what they want.”

    “Great faith, like great strength in general, is revealed by the ease of its workings. Most of what we think we see as the struggle OF faith is really the struggle to act as IF we had faith when in fact we do not.”

    “We must understand that God does not “love” us without liking us – through gritted teeth – as “Christian” love is sometimes thought to do. Rather, out of the eternal freshness of his perpetually self-renewed being, the heavenly Father cherishes the earth and each human being upon it. The fondness, the endearment, the unstintingly affectionate regard of God toward all his creatures is the natural outflow of what he is to the core – which we vainly try to capture with our tired but indispensable old word “love”.”

    “Happiness in reality consists only in rest, and not in being stirred up. This instinct conflicts with the drive to diversion, and we develop the confused idea that leads people to aim at rest through excitement.”

  3. I love the quote, “Grace is not opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning.” I used this often to open group discussions, asking if they agree or disagree and why? There were always some who disagreed and in my opinion missed the boat on what Dr. Willard was saying.

    Saddened to read of his passing.

  4. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    “Died of cancer” obits seem to be everywhere these days. Did any of the obits mention what kind of cancer Dallas Willard had? I’m currently in the middle of a prostate cancer scare from suspicious PSA levels and Free PSA ratios, and it seems all I hear about is cancer obit after cancer obit.

    • Dana Ames says:

      HUG,

      It was pancreatic, exceptionally low cure rate.

      I transcribed for a radiation oncology practice for 23 years; prostate has a much better outlook. You are relatively young, and if you’re healthy otherwise, IF you have it, it is very treatable and curable. Take one day at a time; there’s no big hurry with this. If you have a doctor you trust, that’s the best thing. God is with you, no matter what. Might be time to break out your copy of “Divine Conspiracy”…

      sending you a virtual hug from the other end of the state-
      Dana

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Pancreatic is bad. Right up there with small-cell lung cancer in fatality. One of my favorite Golden Age SF Authors (Poul Anderson) died from it.

        They call Pancreatic and Liver Cancer “Stealth Cancers” or “Ninja Cancers” because usually “the first symptom is when you die from it.” Usually first diagnosed at Stage IV a couple days before death, as happened to Dallas Willard.

        For the record, what set off the alarm bells for my prostate is Age 57, BPH since 2007, PSA 6.3, Free PSA 10.6, all DREs Negative, No Family History.

    • Headless, my dad (74) was just diagnosed Monday of this week. It’s been quite a week for rugged paths of faith and grace has been at our side all the way. Love and grace to you, today and always!

  5. dumb ox says:

    “Today it is the skeptics who are the social conformists, though because of powerful intellectual propaganda they continue to enjoy thinking of themselves as wildly individualistic and unbearably bright.”

    In all due respect, I think the church has brought this age of skepticism upon itself. The church (pick your flavor or denomination) is guilty of…let’s be polite…not accurately representing the truth. I know too many people who abandon the faith because what the church demanded its followers to accept as undeniable truth was far from it. It many take several generations to work this problem through, assuming the church has learned its lesson. Given the names which continue to dominate religious press and most-influential lists, let’s just say I have my DOUBTS!

    • Dana Ames says:

      Ox, “Hearing God” was an early work. By the time he wrote “Divine Conspiracy” in the late ’90s, he would have agreed with you.

      Dana

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      I know too many people who abandon the faith because what the church demanded its followers to accept as undeniable truth was far from it.

      As we are reminded every time Young Earth Creationism has come up on this blog.

      (Incidentally, my writing partner informed me Ken Ham’s “Ark Experience” Theme Park (bandied about here at IMonk under the title “The Disney-ization of Christianity”) is no more. Project fell through; according to the pastoral grapevine, the Creation Museum blames Obama for killing it via Obamacare. Cue “PERSECUTION!!!!” bullhorns.)

      • Amy Lynn Hunt says:

        I think you guys might have veered off topic a bit – could you not wait at least a few days before starting the sadly always to be expected fighting? I don’t get it. But i do know it is not necessary. :/

  6. JioanieD says:

    I kept hearing and reading about Dallas Willard and a few years ago I read one of his books and I THINK it was The Divine Conspiracy, but I am not sure. Whatever I read, I know I liked it! I think his wisdom and words have helped thousands or millions of people.

  7. Just added Divine Conspiracy to my save for later list on Amazon! Thanks, Jeff!

  8. Amy Lynn Hunt says:

    Thank you for this Blog and if i can get personal for a sec, thank you very much for setting up the links to get help to my state, it means so incredibly much to us all!

    I have been trying to figure out where best to start with Dallas’s books, i have only ever heard him speak a bit so far. Divine Conspiracy seems to be the one most people love & talk about so I’ll look for it again. Or hope the library has it!

    I am so sad for us who still have to muddle through this world – and extremely sad for my selfish self, this makes 3 amazing (wow how do you explain people who change your life & help you to not just know God more intimately, but get rid of the things we – i – thought were true about Him??) Anyway, 3 losses in 13 months of amazing men who loved the Lord and people so very much, who taught me so much. My pastor, who rode a motorcycle and also wrote amazing books, was one in a zillion. Then Brennan Manning (who taught me so much about how much God really loves me!!), and now Dallas. I have been out of the loop a while and didn’t know Dallas had Gone Home until a fluke led me to his Twitter page yesterday – i was shocked and couldn’t believe he was gone. But again, this is a man who loved God so much and did so much to make sure everyone else had a chance to too, and i know he is not in any pain, and much, much more than that, he is in the presence of Jesus! All the time!