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Formation into Christlikeness

This past weekend I attended a Renovaré/Aprentis Institute event with my wife in Wichita, Kansas.  (It was her birthday present.)  Entitled Formation in Christlikeness: The Process of Change, we drank deep from the well of learning and reflection.  Dallas Willard offered a framework on “the ingredients of Transformation into Christlikeness” built on Vision – Intention – Means.  He noted that we tend to focus on the means but vision is the “support of it all.”  He further commented that the availability to us of God and His kingdom means we are not victims unless we chose to be victims.  Intention according to Willard “is solidly formed in the light of correct vision. . . . We become disciples, apprentices of Jesus in kingdom living from our Vision of life.” Willard’s questions linger in my mind as I reflect on our time together.  “How are you doing with your kingdom today?”  The answer is often, “Not great.”  The response is an invitation to live in the Kingdom of God.  Put differently, “Would you like a life of abiding peace?”  Who wouldn’t! And, if I don’t experience abiding peace in my life today, even in tough times, then is a challenge to the vision – intention – (and) means of Christ-like formation in my life?  Is my vision focused; is my intention true?  Means (spiritual disciplines) follow vision and intention. “Means,” said Dallas Willard, “becomes available and effectual where the Vision is clear and the Intention is unwavering. . . . Outward conformity without inward transformation (Vision and Intention) is impossible and will kill you and others spiritually.”