Much of the teaching of Dallas Willard can be summed up with the two statements:
It is less important who you are and what you believe.
More important who you are becoming and how you live.
Once we accept and believe the fundamental tenets of Christianity, it is almost wholly about “becoming” and no longer just “believing” or “knowing.” As you might recall, we differentiated “doing stuff for” God and “doing stuff with” God in the prior post. This is a subtle, but powerful distinction.
The crucial and essential journey we must make is the fourteen inches between head and heart. It's a journey I have made willingly, other times reluctantly, but have sometimes fought it with every fiber of my being (as if my very life depended on it). Our minds are the front lines in the battlefield for our hearts. If our enemy can keep us in the intellectual, we will never be able to fully know or offer the love of God.
Over the last few years, I’ve realized that I seem to have endless energy to pour into certain people and have little interest in spending much time with others. The exhaustive coach training I am undergoing right now holds an important key as to why. They say that three things must be clearly obvious in a person before they are capable and willing to find real change for their lives or circumstances:
- Pain – They must be in real and deep pain. Hate the place they currently find themselves so much that staying where they are is not an option. They are very clear on the incredible consequences that hang in the balance.
- Desire – They must be motivated and even invigorated to change the circumstance of their life.
- Humble (or coachable) - willing to take the advice and instruction of another and actually apply it to their life. Not simply nod their head in agreement, but actually listen and make real changes.
I have applied this filter to seasons of my own life where I was either stuck or experienced great growth. I have also looked at past and present relationships through this set of lenses. I have found it to be universally true. It is now a litmus for how my wife and I invest our time in others.
It is interesting how resolved my coach training is on this issue. They say that if all three are not evident and real, we should run the other way. They are not a real client and not capable of real change. It is hard, as a believer, to decide that someone’s circumstance doesn’t warrant your time. Their circumstance should always warrant your concern, but their pain, desire, and humility, will tell you whether or not change is possible.
I regard my time, passion, and call to speak into others lives as a Kingdom resource. You should as well. Point these arrows from your quiver in a direction where they will find their purchase. Where they will hit their mark and find the necessary soil to take root. Pouring into someone that isn’t in pain, passionate about change, and humble, is keeping you from someone who is actually ready for change.
- Are you ready to make changes in your life?
- Are you experiencing pain, desire, and walking in humility?
- Are you exercising good stewardship in how you are investing your time, energy, and resources?