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SOUNDINGS – Burning Grace Like Jet Fuel

Some authors are worth coming back to again and again.   Dallas Willard is one of those for me, and while I offered this a couple of years ago, I was reminded of it recently and wanted to offer it again.

Dallas will, for a profound lack of a better phrase, rock your world, if you do the hard work to understand what he’s getting at!   His thoughts and contributions are like those of John Piper, NT Wright, Henri Nouwen–supremely helpful during their lifetime, and likely still to be read, studied, and helping far into the 22nd century.   While for many years he was a philosophy professor at the University of Southern California, most of us know him through his many books written for Christian audiences.

There’s literally hundreds of insights from Dallas that will change your life if you get what he’s getting at.  Here’s one that has changed me, and has changed the way I think about the Christian life and the way I pray.

Dallas broadened my understanding of what grace is and what grace does.   Most of us respond to the question “What is grace?” with “God’s unmerited favor”.  This is not wrong, it’s simply doesn’t go far enough.
He asserts that grace includes this, but more it is “actually God acting in your life to accomplish what you cannot accomplish on your own.”  Sinners use some grace, Willard says, and find total forgiveness, but (here comes the quote and image from The Great Omission):

 “The true saint burns grace like a 747 burns fuel on takeoff.” 
What an image, how thought-provoking!  O how it makes me long to have God’s life living through me each day such that I rely on him more and more throughout the day.

Simple, revolutionary insights like this also compel me to continue to try to understand what Willard is showing me.

You might want him to teach you too. You might try reading The Spirit of the Disciplines or The Divine Conspiracy.  With the latter particularly, expect it to be tough, so expect to read it slowly, maybe with another person or small group, and a study guide for it has been published.  I finally began understanding it on my third reading.

For my part, I’m asking God each day to grant me more and more of his grace, more of himself, that I might more and more be a conduit for his good and powerful presence.  I want to burn grace like jet fuel.  And I continue to make room for the spiritual disciplines and practices that will create space in my heart for God to do just that.