Thursday, February 15, 2007

Renovation of the Heart

Dallas Willard, a professor and former director of the School of Philosophy at the University of California, coined the acronym “VIM” in describing the pattern for spiritual formation.

Willard describes " spiritual formation, without regard to any specific religious context or tradition, is the process by which the human spirit or will is given a definite "form" or character." To Willard, spiritual formation is character formation.

VIM stands for vision, intention, and means.

He writes,

“VIM” is a derivative of the Latin term “vis.” meaning direction, strength, force, vigor, power, energy, or virtue; and sometimes meaning sense, import, nature, or essence. Spiritual formation in Christlikeness is all of this to human existence. It is the path by which we can truly, as Paul told the Ephesians, “be empowered in the Lord and in the energy of his might”(Ephesians 6:10, PAR) and “become mighty with his energy though his Spirit entering into the inward person”(3:16, PAR)

Vision of “life in the Kingdom”

Spiritual formation starts with the vision of partaking of the life in the kingdom of God here and now. This means we experience the presence of God in our lives now. It also means that we take part in God’s mission on earth now. However this vision is not something we conjure up but has to be given to us by God.

Intention to be a "Kingdom Person”

After receiving the vision, we have to make a decision to intentionally be a “kingdom person.” What this means is to trust, believe and obey the teachings of Jesus. This belief is not just an intellectual acceptance but must be translated into action. To trust and to believe is to act out in obedience to Christ.

Means for Spiritual Transformation

These “means for spiritual transformation” are, “for replacing of the inner character of the “lost” with the inner character of Jesus: his vision, understanding, feelings, decisions, and character.” p.89 This is achieved by discovering, reflecting and identifying the thoughts, feelings, habits, social interactions and other ingrained attitude that prevents us from becoming like Jesus. Once we have identified these failings we then take steps to retrain our inner person into a new worldview, habits, attitudes and feelings. The chief means is by studying and meditating on the Scriptures.

And I thought VIM is a brand name for a dishwasher!

soli deo gloria

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