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Renovation of the Heart

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  1,961 ratings  ·  111 reviews
Renovation of the Heart explains the common misunderstandings about human nature and the discipleship process by outlining the general pattern of personal spiritual transformation––not as a formula, but as a systematic process.

This bestseller by Dallas Willard explains that as intentional apprentices of Jesus, we are to move deeper into a relationship with God while becomi

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Hardcover, 272 pages
Published May 15th 2002 by NavPress Publishing Group (first published October 1st 1987)
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Jacob Aitken
It's hard to write a new book on spiritual formation. Even the books that are good seem to have covered already-covered ground. What more is there to add? Dallas Willard takes a different angle. Rather than aiming for spiritual formation or spiritual disciplines, which advice always runs the risk of sounding pedantic, he speaks of "forming Christlikeness." In this review I will summarize some of his key points, note some potential problems and tensions, and end with a reflection.

Unlike other aut
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Robert
In “Renovation of the Heart – Putting on the Character of Christ” Dallas Willard supplies such a plethora of information that it is difficult to sort through everything and find a place where to begin to respond. Usually I like to pick out ideas that have an impact on me—either positively or negatively, but the abstract concepts Willard presents are not easily digested in one reading even at a stayed pace.

I want to start with a discussion on the will but I can’t decide whether it is my thoughts
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Betsy Brown
If you haven't read Dallas Willard, now is the time to start. I have him up there with Bounds, Wigglesworth, Andrew Murray, etc. You will read, reread, then read again. The best book on spiritual transformation that I have read!
Adam Shields
Short Review: If it were just evaluating on spiritual wisdom this would definitely be a five star book. But I think it could have been edited better. Maybe that is because it took me so long to read it (about 3 weeks). But most of that time was really because I needed time to process the content. This is probably the best book I have read on the how and why of really changing our character to become more like Christ. It is not an easy read and certainly not a silver bullet. But it is worth readi ...more
Chris
This book is amazing. The very practical explanations it gives on the Christian's part of sanctification (earnest discipline) is unparalleled in contemporary Christian literature. I have never read a Christian book that gives such practical advice on disciplining one's emotions. Willard is so insightful and this book is life-changing. I find myself rereading certain parts from time to time, even after I've read them 10 times. he shows how following Christ is objectively wise and wiser than not f ...more
Jan Livingston
Jul 27, 2008 Jan Livingston is currently reading it
I have listened to this book eternally this summer...I guess each CD 5 or 6 times. Each time is a new revelation and pertinent to the day/situation. One or two fresh ideas percolate each time I drive around. Even my teenage kids are getting used to it and aren't complaining about the deep ideas.(This is somewhat of a miracle in itself).
The author is wise, deeply Christian yet humble...I believe he lives what he preaches and this resonates with the message to many of us who are lucky enough to le
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Brett
The Kingdom of the Heavens is not then and there, but here and now. Jesus’ radical reordering of society in His ‘sermon on the mount,’ offers a sustained and penetrating look into this new reality. Willard provides a methodical and immensely practical examination of this profound sermon. Although at times drifting into questionable exegesis, Willard’s central thesis is rock solid. In particular, Willard’s explanation of the Kingdom of God and discipleship make this a must-read. A-
John Martindale
I listened to the audiobook and the narrator read the book at a slugs pace and Willard's writing was at times as dry as the Sahara and often quite dense (It seemed the kind of book that needs to be slowly read and meditated on). I do wish it was better written, but with criticisms aside, the actual ideas and concepts that Renovation of the heart contained were excellent. It seemed comprehensive and biblical and logically sound. Sanctification is a topic I've been thinking a lot on for around 14 ...more
Jaime
Mar 08, 2008 Jaime rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jaime by: Chad B.
This book challenges the way I look at what it means to follow Christ. He who began a good work will be faithful to complete it (Phil 1:6). His good work is in every aspect of our lives. His desire is not to get people in heaven, but rather to get heaven in people.

It's a very meaty read. It took our community group a good 6 months to process through it together.
Nate Walker
Besides the fact that this book needs a healthy dose of sovereign grace in it (there is a lot of emphasis on our own effort in the process of transformation), this book was in many ways life changing for me. The biggest take aways: (1) Character transformation is the essence of Christ being formed in us and of the utmost importance for Christian discipleship, (2) transformation happens through intentional orderly devotion to the means of grace. Willard is a very thoguhtful and careful writer, an ...more
Sonny
The reality of the church in North America today is a sad story. Many have fallen far short of the standard of Christ’s holy life. Why does the life promised by the Bible seem so radically different from our lives today? We can experience this life. We need not live in spiritual defeat-—we just need to take the right approach. Willard’s approach is not burdensome. We just need a renovation of the heart. A vision of change and hope is outlined; he then shows how every element of the human person ...more
Shawn
This is an encouraging book about transformation of the self into the image of Christ. I read this book about 8 years ago, but quite superficially. This is one of those books that requires a quiet space to read and some time to think over the principles.

I took a few key ideas from this book that are very encouraging. The first thing that struck me is the holistic effect of sin on the individual. The heart, will, and body are all interconnected in their ruin. God offers restoration and transforma
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George
Oh thank goodness I finally finished that. I got the audiobook version and listened to it on the road. I had a very hard time paying attention much of the time. Grammatically, it was not very well written. It was grammatically correct, but could have cut out 10% of the redundant words or more and still kept its meaning.

There were so many, that is to say a lot, of redundant, self-repeating, or ideologically similar, phrases and sentences, with so many commas, which are a type of punctuation, and
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Steven Bullmer
Once again Dallas Willard wrote a book that is deep, challenging, and right on. What he says about putting on the character of Christ is so much more challenging than the usual superficial stuff that's popularized these days. But renovating one's heart is a spiritual challenge!
I especially appreciated his Pattern of VIM (Vision, Intention, Means). I also appreciated his taking a holistic approach to renovating a human life, recognizing that we are made up of several components (Mind, Will/Heart,
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Richard Cleary
If you are interested in the transformation of your character, there are few people in the Western church who are as helpful as Willard. Yet, I think Willard is missing something highly significant- an enriching theology of the emotions of the God of Israel and the reality and centrality of love being an emotion. Just look up all of the ways "agape" is used in the NT or Septuagint and you will see agape is an emotion. When we have God's emotional love, it is devoted, loyal, patience, kind.... Fo ...more
Stevie
Jan 17, 2009 Stevie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Lynda Infante, Lauren Petrick, Jordan Brooks, Tom Weiner, Jody Olsen
A good and dense book about becoming like Christ.

Poignant Quotes:

A carefully cultivated heart will, assisted by the grace of God, forsee, forestall, or transform most of the painful situations before which others stand like helpless children say “Why?”

There arises a very real danger that we will set ourselves in opposition to what God truly is doing now and aims to do in the future. Often we miss the opportunity to act with God in the now.

Spiritual formation for the Christian basically refers to
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Tim Patrick
This is an explaining book, not a doing book. Dallas Willard, who passed away just this year, has a special talent for understanding and analyzing spiritual renovation to its fullest extent. The book's thirteen chapters discuss renovation for each aspect of the inner human: the mind, the heart, the will, the body, one's social context, and the soul. He crafts an obligatory acronym, VIM, to discuss the renovation process in three steps: vision, intention, means. It's all fully explained and tied ...more
Janine Tinsley
Ok, so this book took a very long time to get through. It's dense, very dense, and take time to digest, sometimes re-read, or just take a break from at times.

Still, it's an excellent methodological step through of what it means to be spiritually transformed, what it looks like, and how it can be done. I think this last part is especially important, since as humans we tend all too often to lean on the side of trying to transform ourselves (an impossible and discouraging task) or assuming that Jes
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Tom
Much is good about this book. It goes into good deal about all aspects of our created being and how to have all bring our entire being under Christ's. It also walks that precarious line between legalistic do/don't lists and do what you want subjectivity. Finally, it challenges the reader to consider what it means to truly be a disciple of Christ's. Much like Bonhoeffer's Cost of Discipleship, it doesn't let the reader off the hook with any degree of cheap grace. On the downside, it is probably m ...more
Vaughn
Feb 17, 2014 Vaughn rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Newer Christians that are just learning about spiritual disciplines.
I picked this book up as a freebie from Amazon Kindle. While the content is sound, the first 30% of the book contained a lot of repetition and very few ah-ha kind of moments. I put the book down at that point as I wasn't gaining much for the investment in time.

If you've not read much on spiritual disciplines, this may be a good place to start.
Donna
I purchased this book on the recommendation of my pastor, as he mentioned this one and another by Willard in his sermon. I was expecting an interesting read addressing certain aspects of the Christian life as regards how we make our decisions (i.e. from which aspect, our feelings, thoughts, old nature vs. new nature, etc.) I wasn't prepared to read a book that so foundationally changed my view of the Christian life, and my role as an "apprentice" of Jesus Christ. Dallas calls his readers to more ...more
Meshach Kanyion
This book has helped me understand the elements of human life that accompany spiritual formation into Christlikeness. I am eternally grateful for Dr. Dallas Willard for his clarity and helpfulness in this regard. This book, along with several others he has written (and others in their category) have not only given me hope and joy for ministry, but I have an inner sense of renewed joy in my own life because of these works.

I'd encourage everyone to read this book with a pen to write in the margin
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Steve Penner
We lost this great philosopher, theologian and spiritual writer last year and I wonder if anyone noticed? This is a great read for those who want to go a little deeper into spiritual understanding of the Christian life.
Suzanne Benner
Much easier to read that The Divine Conspiracy and even more powerful. When I arrived at the end, I thought I should immediately start at the beginning again, so that I could incorporate his ideas into my life.
Blake Chenoweth
This is the 4th book by Dallas Willard I have read and it is another great one. He makes me think with every page I turn. Incredibly deep, but something about the way he says things makes it easy to follow. In Renovation of the Heart, Dallas Willard writes about the six dimensions of the human self: soul, body, mind, will, feelings, and social context; how they all work together to make the true human.

Willard gives great practical advice and encouragement to grow your heart towards Christ. I lo
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Frank Pray
So far, I find that getting the to the lodestar is a little slow. Willard covers the 6 essential aspects of a human being (which he refers to by the pronoun "it"--a little disconcerting, like I might find "it" in the morgue or in the cuppard.). More important is his premise that our part in spiritual formation is to be formable. We "show up" ready and responsive to the working of the Holy Spirit. We get real about our own corruptitudes. We give up trying to will our way into a new life. We will ...more
Jasonlylescampbell
This is his book on Spiritual Formation and while at times it isn't the most fun read, he is a profound thinker and liver (if that can be used without refrencing the organ). I find that it is really challenging me to think differently about my walk with God and especially about how to encourage and pastor people. It is great because it helps you see the massive change that Jesus Christ came to effect ... that it wasn't only to affect one part of the human condition, but to speak into and change ...more
Scarlett
Read it, then read it again, then one more time. Heavy. Great stuff, each time you read it you find more things!
Abbey
It took our small group probably over half of a year to get through this book, but I loved it. It can be a bit analytical, and at times the language and syntax lost a few of our members, but for me it was right up my alley. I am one that would rather take my time and sacrifice some syntactical gracefulness to make sure that what comes out on the page is EXACTLY what I meant to say, so I appreciated this aspect of the book. Content-wise, I think that the things Willard has to say about inividuals ...more
Michael
The first half of this book is a most insightful and thorough analysis of the human person (will/mind/emotions, spirit, and body). I've never read such a deep yet truly accessible analysis. Those in the Reformed camp may take issue with some of the author's arguments, but I'm in overall agreement. The second half is a prescription and call to become disciples of the Master and have each part of us yielded and transformed to become more like Christ. He argues convincingly that this kind of spirit ...more
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DALLAS WILLARD is a Professor in the School of Philosophy at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He has taught at USC since 1965, where he was Director of the School of Philosophy from 1982-1985. He has also taught at the University of Wisconsin (Madison, 1960-1965), and has held visiting appointments at UCLA (1969) and the University of Colorado (1984).

His undergraduate studies
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More about Dallas Willard...
The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God The Spirit of the Disciplines : Understanding How God Changes Lives Hearing God The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus's Essential Teachings on Discipleship Knowing Christ Today: Why We Can Trust Spiritual Knowledge

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“A carefully cultivated heart will, assisted by the grace of God, foresee, forestall, or transform most of the painful situations before which others stand like helpless children saying “Why?” 20 likes
“Actions are not impostions on who we are, but are expressions of who we are. They come out of our heart and the inner realities it supervises and interacts with” 11 likes
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