The Integrated Life – Vision

1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same attitude of mind Christ Jesus had: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage.” (Philippians 2.1-6)

The last post looked at the idea of an integrated life (synonymous phrases would be a ‘coherent life’ or an ‘undivided life’).  The topic is worthy of far more air space than I am going to give it, but for the next two posts I will simply post the question, “How?”  If you are tired of a divided life and want to have more integrity/integration, how do you move forward?

One of the thinkers/authors I really like on the topic is Dallas Willard.  He has written numerous books on spiritual formation and is a Professor of Philosophy at USC.  He uses an acronym that I really like – VIM.  VIM stands for vision, intent, and means.  This is the process that must be followed over and over again.  Here are a few select quotes from Willard on how important vision is, and he uses the Bible text above as his guide:

“The mind of Christ [in Philippians 2] is a vision of wanting to be connected to Jesus on a day-by-day and moment-by-moment basis.”

“It is very possible to believe in Jesus but to not be accessing Jesus by faith.  This is what makes us bored, depressed, and disconnected.  When we don’t have the mind of Jesus we are vulnerable… Knowing in the Bible almost never means to what we would call head knowledge.  Knowing refers to an interactive relationship.  That’s what it is to follow Christ – it is to live in an interactive relationship with Christ.”

“One who follows Jesus is not perfect.  But there is something moving in them that will eventually bring them into complete harmony with all aspects of God in their being.  For most that won’t be until we pass the veil of death, but that also does not mean we sit contently where we are until we die.  We are going to be on the move because we are with him learning to be like him.”

“When we are with Jesus we experience transformation in every dimension of our being.  This is what it means to have the mind of Christ.  It is a progressive transformation of all of the dimensions of the self so that life is increasingly and easy expression of the words and characters of Jesus.  This is spiritual transformation in the Christian sense.  Our thoughts, body, will, mind, social relationships are no longer the same.  Every aspect of our being integrates under Christ. Philippians 2.2 is a call to move towards Jesus until that is a constant reality for us.”

“We talk a lot about the difficulty of following Jesus.  But that is a myth.  The way of Jesus is easy.  It is not meant to be hard.  If you think the way of Jesus is hard, you should listen to some of the devil’s sayings.  They really are hard.  We don’t understand the richness of the world we live in as we trust Jesus Christ and step into his Kingdom.”

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