A new creation! I’m Malcolm Cox. Welcome back to this series on ‘A new creation’. Today, one model that may help us understand how God changes us.
In previous episodes we have explored the nature of spiritual growth – that it is both practical and mystical. This week we take a look at a model of spiritual growth put forward by Dallas Willard – something he called, “The golden triangle of spiritual growth”.
By the way, before we go on, both he and I would be appalled if the model came across as a formula.

  1. Centred in the mind of Christ
    The mind is our centre. How we think shapes everything. We need to centre in the mind of Christ if we are to see transformation. That way we learn to see things the way Jesus sees them. We learn to see Father God the way he sees him, we learn to see ourselves the way he sees us, and we learn to see other people the way he sees them.
    1 Corinthians 2.16““For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”
    Philippians 2.5“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:”
    QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION: What helps you to ‘have the mind of the Lord’?
  2. The work of the Holy Spirit
    God’s power is what transforms us, not just the way we think.
    Romans 8.6“The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”
    Romans 8.13“For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”
    QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION: What does it mean for you to grow in the power of the Spirit?
  3. Ordinary events of daily life
    We are talking especially about the hard stuff. God shapes us through the nitty-gritty of daily life.
    Philippians 3.10“I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,”
    Therefore, although we may mourn our painful experiences, we must look for the valuable growth opportunities they contain.
    QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION: What is going on in your life right now that God can use to help you grow in Christ-likeness?
  4. Planned discipline to put on a new heart
    What are these disciplines? They are practices such as fasting, prayer, solitude, fellowship, worship, silence, and whatever helps us consciously invite God to transform us more into the likeness of Christ.
    Spiritual discipline tools open us up to God’s grace. In themselves they do nothing. However, when added to the ordinary events of daily life, the transformational activity of the Spirit, and the mind of Christ, they are powerful channels for God’s work.
    More on this in the following episodes

Spiritual growth can be stimulated and catalysed by our actions, but the key is to open ourselves up so that God can do his work.

For reflection
What helps help you to be centred in the mind of Christ?
How have you seen the Holy Spirit transform you so far?
What’s going on in your life right now that could be a channel for God’s growth work in you?
Which spiritual disciplines might help you to access God’s power to your spiritual character?

Next time we will go on to look at another model of spiritual transformation.

Your brother, Malcolm

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