The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard

“We must develop a psychologically sound theology of the spiritual life and of its disciplines to guide us.”

Humans are creatures of habit. Though we like to change things and have variety, we for the most part like to stay the same. However, we seem to always strive for more. Year after year we make resolutions that we constantly break, and we fail again and again because we have no plan or discipline.

We see this in our Christian walk. Regularly we strive to be more loving and Christ-like but rarely do we change. To become something different requires deep, personal, willful change of lifestyle. To be like Christ we need to adopt Christ’s lifestyle of discipline. We need to focus on how He lived and not just what He did in the moment.

Being like Christ cannot happen by simply acting Christ-like. That is like telling someone to be Babe Ruth-like if you want to hit more homers. Asking “What Would Jesus Do?” when we encounter a situation is foolish and not adequate discipline. What one needs a radical change in their lifestyle.

Dallas Willard does a wonderful job explaining the details of the disciplined life – what it is and what it is not. We need discipline in our modern society of immediate gratification, it is the only way we will understand more about God, especially during difficult times.

I know Dallas Willard is a favorite of many and I agree that he is a respected author, however I found this book to be a bit long-winded and a touch of pretentiousness. This is still a great book but I think the idiom “less is more” would work here.