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Chapter 2 of Renovation of the Heart Class


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Slides for chapter 2 from class and discussion about Dallas Willard's Renovation of the Heart. Slides by Carlin Trammel.

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Chapter 2 of Renovation of the Heart Class

  1. 1. Wednesday Night Class Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ September 2, 2020 1
  2. 2. Chapter 2: The Heart in the System of Human Life 2
  3. 3. Care Requires Understanding • Think of this chapter as sort of an “anatomy lesson” with Luke 10 as the backdrop for how we dissect this. – Its aim is to explain the nature of the heart (spirit, or will) and its function in the person as a whole. In order to do this we will take a look at the whole person and distinguish the various aspects, including the heart, which compose us. 3
  4. 4. The Contemporary Battle Over Human Nature • Understanding the function of the various aspects of the heart, while difficult on its own, becomes even more mired in modern culture. 4
  5. 5. The Contemporary Battle Over Human Nature – ...I believe it will become clear that “heart,” “spirit,” and “will” (or their equivalents) are words that refer to one and the same thing, the same fundamental component of the person. But they do so under different aspects. “Will” refers to that component’s power to initiate, to create, to bring about what did not exist before. “Spirit” refers to its fundamental nature as distinct and independent from physical reality. And “heart” refers to its position in the human being, as the center or core to which every other component of the self owes its proper functioning. But it is the same dimension of the human being that has all these features. 5
  6. 6. The Heart Directs the Life – THOSE WITH A WELL-KEPT heart are persons who are prepared for and capable of responding to the situations of life in ways that are good and right. Their will functions as it should, to choose what is good and avoid what is evil, and the other components of their nature cooperate to that end. They need not be “perfect”; but what all people manage in at least a few times and areas of life, they manage in life as a whole. 6
  7. 7. The Heart Directs the Life – Now, in order to see what this means and why it is so, we must be clear about what the “heart” or “spirit” is within the human system and how it can effectively govern our lives for good. – The human heart, will, or spirit is the executive center of a human life. The heart is where decisions and choices are made for the whole person. That is its function. 7
  8. 8. The Six Basic Aspects of a Human Life 1. Thought (images, concepts, judgments, inferences) 2. Feeling (sensation, emotion) 3. Choice (will, decision, character) 4. Body (action, interaction with the physical world) 5. Social context (personal and structural relations to others) 6. Soul (the factor that integrates all of the above to form one life) 8
  9. 9. The Human Self Is Not Mysterious – Each aspect or dimension of the person will be a source of weakness or strength to the whole person, depending upon the condition it is in, and the condition it is in will depend, finally, upon the heart. A person who is prepared and capable of responding to the situations of life in ways that are “good and right” is a person whose soul is in order, under the direction of a well-kept heart, in turn under the direction of God. We can better see what this means if we keep in mind what each dimension of the human being does. 9
  10. 10. A Brief Initial Survey of the Six Human Dimensions • Thought – Thought brings things before our minds in various ways (including perception and imagination) and enables us to consider them in various respects and trace out their interrelationships with one another. • Feeling – Feeling inclines us toward or away from things that come before our minds in thought. It involves a tone that is pleasant or painful, along with an attraction or repulsion with respect to the existence or possession of what is thought of. 10
  11. 11. A Brief Initial Survey of the Six Human Dimensions • Will (Spirit, Heart) – Volition, or choice, is the exercise of will, the capacity of the person to originate things and events that would not otherwise be or occur. By “originate” here we mean to include two of the things most prized in human life: freedom and creativity. These are really two aspects of the same thing when properly understood, which is power to do what is good—or evil. • Body – The body is the focal point of our presence in the physical and social world. In union with it we come into existence, and we become the person we shall forever be. It is our primary energy source or “strength”—our personalized “power pack”—a place where we can even stand in defiance of God, at least for a while. 11
  12. 12. A Brief Initial Survey of the Six Human Dimensions • Social Context – The human self requires rootedness in others. This is primarily an ontological matter—a matter of being what we are. It is not just a moral matter, a matter of what ought to be. And the moral aspect of it grows out of the ontological. • Soul – The soul is that dimension of the person that interrelates all of the other dimensions so that they form one life. It is like a meta-dimension or higher- level dimension because its direct field of play consists of the other dimensions (thought, body, and so on), and through them it reaches ever deeper into the person’s vast environment of God 12
  13. 13. The Whole Picture 13
  14. 14. Influence on Action – The inadequacy of good intentions alone to ensure proper action is marked by Jesus’ words: “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” If the six dimensions are properly aligned with God and what is good—and therefore with each other—that “mere relenting” will be good, and our actions will simply be the good fruit of the good tree. If they are not so aligned, they will be the inevitable bad fruit of the bad tree. 14
  15. 15. Influence on Action 15
  16. 16. Influence on Action 16 Life Away from God Body Soul Mind (Thought/Feeling) Spirit God Life Under God God Spirit Mind (Thought/Feeling) Soul Body
  17. 17. Influence on Action – It is the central point of this book that spiritual transformation only happens as each essential dimension of the human being is transformed to Christlikeness under the direction of a regenerate will interacting with constant overtures of grace from God. Such transformation is not the result of mere human effort and cannot be accomplished by putting pressure on the will (heart, spirit) alone. 17
  18. 18. Israel and Us – In the beginning of the conquest of the Promised Land, the walls of Jericho fell down, to make clear God’s presence and power. Welcome to the kingdom! But that never happened again. The Israelites had to take the remaining cities through hand-to-hand warfare, though always still with divine assistance. 18
  19. 19. “Helter Skelter” – Accordingly, much of what we do in Christian circles with very good intentions—hoping, we say, to see steady, significant growth in Christlikeness—simply makes no sense and leads nowhere so far as substantive spiritual formation is concerned. 19
  20. 20. Next Week: Chapter 3: Radical Evil in the Ruined Soul 20
  21. 21. Matters for Thought and Discussion • Explore the role feelings play in our current social and personal life. In media and popular arts. In church activities. Would you say you are (sometimes? never? always?) controlled by your feelings? • Do you agree or disagree with the explanation of temptation set forth in this chapter? • How does choice or volition depend upon thought and feeling? Why can’t we just change our will? (“Human life does not run by will alone”!) • “Actions really do tell who we are.” Agree? Disagree? • Is the comparison between Israel taking the Promised Land and our conquering by grace and action all the dimensions of our personality a valid one? 21