Tag Archives: Dallas Willard

What it looks like to magnify God

Yesterday I blogged about the greatest Christmas song ever written – The Magnificat – and how Mary burst forth in praise when she met up with her relative Elizabeth.

“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!” ~ Luke 1:46-47

We explored what it means when our soul praises and our spirit rejoices – a celebration that involves every fiber of our being. And I explained that the name The Magnificat comes from the Latin translation meaning “magnify my soul, magnify the Lord.”

We all know that to magnify something is to enlarge it, to make it more visible. But what exactly does it look like to magnify God? This much is for certain:

To magnify or glorify God is not just something we do with our lips or when we gather on Sunday mornings; it’s what we do with our whole life.

Dallas Willard gives what I think is the best definition of what it means to magnify or glorify God when he says:

“It means to live in such a way that when people look at your life, they say, ‘What a good God God must be to think up somebody like you.'”

When others look at us, does what they see magnify God and draw attention to Him; or do they see just another human being doing life like most of the world – focused on their own concerns and comfort?

John Ortberg tells the story of their church hosting a Christmas party for their leaders. They contacted a vendor, a business guy, to help them with the desserts. One staff person called this guy and said:

“I work at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church. We are going to have a party for our Elders and there’s a man at our church who recommended you to us. Can you help us with a dessert deal?”

And this vendor said, “You mean this guy goes to your church and he recommended me?”

The staff person said, “Yeah, do you know that guy?”

The vendor said, “Know him? I’ll tell you what. Not only do I know him. He is such a good guy. He has been so kind to me and the people that I work with that if you’re his church, I will provide my part of the dessert for free. You are not paying me anything. I will give the dessert away to a church that produces a person like that.”

How amazing is that?!

Lord, be magnified in me today and in Your church always!

***

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Filed under Christmas, Glory of God, influence with the world, involvement with the church, Praise, Worship

Vampire Christians

Vampires are enjoying great popularity these days! Best-selling books, epic movies, and countless TV shows. Everywhere you turn there is someone lurking nearby with one serious bite! In fact, they even exist in the church.

A while back A.W. Tozer expressed his “feeling that a notable heresy has come into being throughout evangelical Christian circles – the widely accepted concept that we humans can choose to accept Christ only because we need him as Savior and that we have the right to postpone our obedience to him as Lord as long as we want to!” Tozer goes on to state that…

salvation apart from obedience is unknown in the sacred scriptures.

It’s quite the rage in lots of Christian communities. The notion that we can make use of Jesus’ blood, His death on the cross, to secure our eternity with Him and yet not surrender the whole of our lives to His control. Who wouldn’t want in on a deal like that?!

It’s like getting your favorite dessert without first eating your vegetables. It’s like developing a killer, healthy body while sitting on the couch eating potato chips. It’s like winning the lottery without even buying a ticket. It’s what Dallas Willard refers to as being a…

…vampire Christian.

As Dallas puts it, it’s like saying to Jesus, “I’d like a little of your blood, please. But I don’t care to be your student or have your character. In fact, won’t you just excuse me while I get on with my life, and I’ll see you in heaven.”

There’s only one problem with this way of following Jesus. It’s never an option that Jesus gives us!

3 We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. ~ 1 John 2:3-6

We won’t always get it right! We don’t have to be prefect! But we need to make the effort! Just like other vampires – Christian vampires don’t do so well when exposed to the light!

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Filed under Discipleship, Kingdom of God, Surrender

How might the world be different if…?

Dallas Willard has long been someone who challenges me in my commitment to follow Jesus. Willard teaches philosophy at USC and his books explore a discipleship that goes beyond the merely convenient to the kind of whole-life surrender that Jesus modeled and taught. Here’s a good example.

“If you want to experience the flow of love as never before, the next time you are in a competitive situation, pray that the others around you will be more outstanding, more praised, and more used of God than yourself. If Christians were universally to do this for each other, the earth would soon be filled with the knowledge of God’s glory.” ~ Dallas Willard
 
Don’t race past what you just read. Reread it. Think about it. Let it sink in and take root. Imagine what it might look like for you, for a situation in your life. This is how Jesus loved and we are called to do the same.
 
How might the world be different if we all loved liked this? 

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Filed under Christianity, influence with the world, Loving others