Dallas Willard on Intention

A question for us to ponder: do you, and do I, intend to be spiritually transformed?

Read and reflect on Dallas Willard’s words about what the connection between belief and intention:

No one can actually believe the truth about [Jesus] without trusting him by intending to obey him. It is a mental impossibility… The idea that you can trust Christ and not intend to obey him is an illusion generated by the prevalence of an unbelieving “Christian culture.” In fact, you can no more trust Jesus and not intend to obey him than you could trust your doctor and your auto mechanic and not intend to follow their advice. If you don’t intend to follow their advice, you simply don’t trust them. Period.

Now, an intention is brought to completion only by a decision to fulfill or carry through with the intention… If I intend to obey Jesus Christ, I must intend and decide to become the kind of person who would obey. That is, I must find the means of changing my inner being until it is substantially like his, pervasively characterized by his thoughts, feelings, habits, and relationship to the Father… People who do not intend to be inwardly transformed so that obedience to Christ “comes naturally” will not be – no matter what means they think of themselves as employing. God is not going to pick us up by the seat of our pants, as it were, and throw us into transformed kingdom living.

So the problem of spiritual transformation (the normal lack thereof) among those who identify themselves as Christians today… is that it is not intended.

-from Willard’s excellent book The Renovation of the Heart

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