Friday, July 11, 2008

The Divine Conspiracy

As I wrote in my last post, our church is spending a few weeks discussing Discipleship. Today I've been rereading chapter 8 of The Divine Conspiracy, by Dallas Willard. I don't think there's any book (other than the Bible) that I've wanted to internalize more than this one. As I was reading today, I typed a few quotes. Enjoy!

The assumption of Jesus’ program for his people on earth was that they would live their lives as his students and co-laborers. They would find him so admirable in every respect – wise, beautiful, powerful, and good – that they would constantly seek to be in his presence and be guided, instructed, and helped by him in every aspect of their lives (273).

The narrow gate is not, as so often assumed, doctrinal correctness. The narrow gate is obedience – and the confidence in Jesus necessary to it. The broad gate, by contrast, is simply doing whatever I want to do (275).

A disciple, or apprentice, is simply someone who has decided to be with another person, under appropriate conditions, in order to become capable of doing what that person does or to become what that person is (282).

And as a disciple of Jesus I am with him, by choice and by grace, learning from him how to live in the kingdom of God. This is the crucial idea. That means, we recall, how to live within the range of God’s effective will, his life flowing through mine. Another important way of putting this is to say that I am learning from Jesus to live my life as he would live my life if he were I. I am not necessarily learning to do everything he did, but I am learning how to do everything I do in the manner that he did all that he did (283).

Only with such images (pearl & hidden field) before us can we correctly assess the famous “cost of discipleship” of which so much is made. Do you think the businessman who found the pearl was sweating over its cost? An obviously ridiculous question! The only thing these people were sweating about was whether they would “get the deal.” Now that is the soul of the disciple (292).

The entire point of this passage (Luke 14:25-33) is that as long as one thinks anything may really be more valuable than fellowship with Jesus in his kingdom, one cannot learn from him (293).

The counting of the cost is to bring us to the point of clarity and decisiveness. It is to help us to see. Counting the cost is precisely what the man with the pearl and the hidden treasure did. Out of it came their decisiveness and joy. It is decisiveness and joy that are the outcomes of the counting (293).

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