“Life Without Lack” by Dallas Willard

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The following are excerpts from Willard’s book for reflection and application. Brian Babcock

“The Transforming Power of Ideas”

“The ultimate freedom we have as individuals is the power to select what we will allow or require our minds to dwell upon and think about. By think we mean all the ways in which we are aware of things, including our memories, perceptions, and beliefs. 

The focus of your thoughts significantly affects everything else that happens in your life and evokes the feelings that frame your world and motivate your actions.*…”

“… One of the most powerful elements within the realm of our minds is that of ideas. Our ideas form the belief system upon which we base our actions and decisions, and these in turn determine the trajectory of our lives. 

“Living a life without lack involves recognizing the idea systems that govern the present age and its respective cultures—as well as those that constitute life away from God—and replacing them with the idea system that was embodied and taught by Jesus Christ.”

“The apostle Paul warned us that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12 NASB). 

These higher-level powers and forces are spiritual agencies that work with the idea systems of this world. These evil systems have been used to dominate humanity through fear and self-obsession, so that the uppermost thing filling our minds is likely to be our selves. 

That is why Jesus’ teachings emphasize the importance of death to self, giving up your life and not seeking to save yourself.* What does Jesus say about your life? “If you seek to save your life, you will lose it.”** But, of course, that is what nearly everyone does, especially everyone who lives according to the ordinary, fallen course of the world. 

They spend their whole earthly existence trying to save, enhance, and enrich their lives. And what happens? They lose the most important things in their life: an intimate relationship with God and with others.”

Some Scripture References that apply:

‘Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. ‘

Romans 12:1-2  NASB

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”  

Romans 12:1-2 The Message

“The Antidote to Bad Ideas About God”

“When we fill our minds with the gospel, it must be in its fullness as Jesus presented and embodies it.* If we limit the gospel to what Jesus did during a few days at the end of his earthly existence, we miss most of the picture. 

We shouldn’t reduce the saving work of Christ to his death on the cross or we will miss the fullness of God as he is in himself and as he provides for us and all his creation. The gospel that Jesus himself proclaimed, manifested, and taught was about more than his death for the forgiveness of our sins, as important as that is. 

It was about the kingdom of God—God’s immediate availability, his “with-us-ness” that makes a life without lack possible. There is so much more to our relationship with God than just his dealing with our guilt and sin. 

Once we have been forgiven, we are meant to live in the fullness of the life that Jesus came to give us (John 10:10).”