Wednesday, July 23, 2008

On the Spot Obedience

I've been reading The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard. It's really good stuff so far. He's addressed some things recently that I have been thinking about. It's an idea similar to what he talks about in Divine Conspiracy, thought put in a slightly different way. It's basically that idea that we sometimes seek Christlikeness by asking the question "What Would Jesus Do?" in this particular situation. Willard says that there is a flaw in this thinking. He says:
"the idea conveyed is an absolutely fatal one--that to follow [Christ] simply means to try to behave as He did when He was 'on the spot,' under pressure or persecution or in the spotlight. There is a realization that what He did is such cases was...the natural outflow of the life he lived when not on the spot."
And he says a couple of paragraphs earlier:
"We cannot behave 'on the spot' as He did and taught if in the rest of our time we live as everybody else does...Jesus never expected us simply to turn the other cheek, go the second mile, bless those who persecute us, give unto them that ask, and so forth. These responses, generally and rightly understood to be characteristic of Christlikeness, were set forth by Him as illustrative of what might be expected of a new kind of person."

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