Tuesday, October 24, 2017

"Grace" Is Empowerment

The Rift Valley, in south central Kenya

The focus of the Fall 2010 edition of the Journal of Spiritual Formation & Soul Care is "Dallas Willard and Spiritual Formation." In the Introduction Willard's definition of "grace" is given. "Grace is God acting in our lives to bring about what we do not deserve and cannot accomplish on our own." (126)

I know that "grace" has the core meaning of "gift." A gift is, precisely, something I have not earned and thereby do not deserve. But God's grace is also an empowerment. The gift of grace is given so that God might work through me, and you, to accomplish Kingdom-things we could not have done by our own wisdom and strength. 

In this sense God's grace manifests itself. The spiritual gift of prophecy, e.g., is the divine enrichment of our speech and knowledge so as to share words that are not reducible or attributable to our own abilities.

To emphasize grace as only something done to me is to treat it passively. To add to this the idea that grace accomplishes God-things is to see it as dynamic and active. 

Grace is an appearance, a showing-up. Grace is the concrete manifestation of the activity of God in the life of a submitted Jesus-follower.

My recent book is Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.

I submitted my manuscript for Leading the Presence-Driven Church to my publisher last week.