As Christians, we know that we are new creations in Jesus. So we try to act differently, hoping this will make us more like Him. But changing our outward behavior doesn’t change our hearts. Only by God’s grace can we be transformed internally. Renovation of the Heart lays a biblical foundation for understanding what best-selling author Dallas Willard calls the “transformation of the spirit”—a divine process that “brings every element in our being, working from inside out, into harmony with the will of God.”
This fresh approach to spiritual growth explains the biblical reasons why Christians need to undergo change in six aspects of life: thought, feeling, will, body, social context, and soul. Willard also outlines a general pattern of transformation in each area, not as a sterile formula but as a practical process that you can follow without the guilt or perfectionism so many Christians wrestle with.
Don’t settle for complacency. Accept the challenge Renovation of the Heart offers to become an intentional apprentice of Jesus Christ, changing daily as you walk with Him.
Willard (The Divine Conspiracy), a professor of philosophy at the University of Southern California who is also a Southern Baptist minister, here tackles the central Christian question of how to be more like Christ. He claims that the church's failures throughout history are a result of Christians' reading biblical passages that adjure them to Christ-like perfection and then trying to reach that perfection by behaving more perfectly. Instead, he argues that believers should allow God to transform them internally so that their actions, though never quite perfect, will at least be more aligned with God. Willard delineates six areas of such transformation thought, feeling, will, body, social context and soul and delineates a general process toward transforming each. The book's chapters are divided into very short subsections, which, especially in the first four chapters, are inchoate as Willard struggles to explain exactly what the "heart" is and why it is important. Though trained as a philosopher, he does not explicate philosophical discussions over, for example, human nature, settling instead for saying that "we cannot deal with here." Such a position contributes to the book's early incoherence and to a consistent lack of support, and, therefore, power. However, many evangelicals will appreciate his fresh and less guilt-ridden approach to Christian spiritual growth. The book is heavily Bible-based, provides discussion questions and includes a chapter on spiritually transforming congregations as well as individuals.