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AN INDIVIDUAL’S DIGEST OF

JOHN ORTBERG’S

THE
LIFE YOU’VE ALWAYS
WANTED
Preface

This booklet is my personal summary and digest of the wonderful and


inspiring book, The Life You’ve Always Wanted by John Ortberg.

For personal spiritual development, it was decided to summarise the


book in my own words in order to reflect and deepen on the writings.

It must be clearly understood that this booklet is a personal


undertaking and has in no wise been authorised by John
Ortberg to interpret or elucidate.

It is the sincere hope that this digest will be enough to entice the
reader to purchase and read the actual original book which will in no
doubt leave a lasting memory.

anousha vahdaty

ISBN 0-310-25074-9

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1. We Shall Morph Indeed: The hope of transformation
▶ “I cannot pray for a very long without my mind
drifting into a fantasy of angry revenge over some
past slight I thought I had long forgiven or some
grandiose fantasy of achievement.”
▶ Where does disappointment come from? A common
answer in our day is that it is a lack of self-esteem, a
failure to accept oneself. But the ultimate answer is –
my failure to be the person God had in mind when He
created me.
▶ I am called to become the person God hand in mind
when he originally designed me.
▶ The possibility of transformation is the essence of
hope.
▶ The single belief most toxic to a relationship is the
belief that the other person cannot change.

2. Surprised by Change: The goal of spiritual life


▶ Jesus said, “Love God, love people.”
▶ John said, “Everyone who loves is born of God and
knows God. Whoever does not love does not know
God, for God is love.”
▶ Sheldon Vanauken wrote that the strongest argument
for Christianity is Christians, when they are drawing
life from God. The strongest argument against
Christianity? Also Christians, when they become
exclusive, self-righteous, and complacent.
▶ To avid pseudo-transformation there are some signs:
1. Am I spiritually inauthentic? A
preoccupation with appearing to be spiritual.
2. Am I becoming judgmental or exclusive or
proud? When we pursue virtue, we begin to
wonder why others aren’t as virtuous as we
are. Try not to rate people when you meet
them as if they were Olympic contestants. For
example, when meeting people don’t

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categorise them into “This one is needy and
dependent – stay away. That one is bright and
has much to offer – try to connect.” Why do
we often compare ourselves with others as if
we are in some kind of competition? God is
always at work in us, many of his work is
formed, grows, and is accomplished secretly in
souls without their knowledge.
3. Am I becoming more approachable, or
less? It is important to become approach and
not distant yourself from others.
4. Am I growing weary of pursuing spiritual
growth? The pursuit of righteousness is
always an exhausting pursuit when it seeks a
distorted goal.
5. Am I measuring my spiritual life in
superficial ways? Do you measure your
spiritual progress by the number of times you
prayer and Bible study? Yet, the true way to
grow spiritually is by asking “Am I growing in
love for God and people?” This issue is what
kind of people are we becoming?

3. Training vs Trying: The truth about spiritual


disciplines
▶ There is an immense difference between training to
do something and trying to do something.
▶ Respecting the distinction between training and
merely trying is the key to transformation in every
aspect of life.
▶ What are spiritual disciplines?
▶ Spiritual disciplines are not a barometer of
spirituality. God does not measure people’s spiritual
performance on the basis of certain disciplines.
▶ The true indicator of spiritual wellbeing is the ability
to love God and people. If we can do this without the

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practice of any particular spiritual disciplines, then we
should by all means skip the.
▶ Spiritual disciplines are not necessarily
unpleasant. Many people get the impression
somewhere that for an activity to count as a spiritual
discipline, it must be something we would rather not
do.
▶ Spiritual disciplines are not a way to earn favour
with God. Spiritual disciplines are not ways to get
extra credit or to demonstrate to God how deeply we
are committed to Him. The are for our benefit to
transform and not for God’s.
▶ What makes something a discipline? Discipline:
Any activity I can do by direct effort that will help me
do what I cannot now do by direct effort.
▶ Humility and patience are not disciplines but objects
or results of the disciplines.
▶ Disciplines are valuable simply because they allow us
to do what we cannot do by willpower alone.
▶ What makes something a spiritual discipline?
Spiritual discipline: Any activity that can help me gain
power to live life as Jesus taught and modelled it.
▶ Certain practices are basic such as solitude,
servanthood, confession or meditation on Scripture.
But we can turn almost any activity into a training
exercise for spiritual life.
▶ How do we know what spiritual disciplines to
practice? First, we must understand what it means to
live in the kingdom of God. Second, we must
understand what kind of barriers keep us from doing
so. Third, we must discover what experiences or
relationships can help us overcome these barriers.
▶ What is a disciplined person? A disciplined person
is someone who can do the right thing at the right
time in the right way with the right spirit.
▶ A disciplined person is not simply someone who
exercises many disciplines. A disciplined person is not

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a highly systematic, rigidly scheduled, chart-making,
gold-start-loving early riser.
▶ Disciplined people can do what is called for at any
given moment.
▶ A disciplined follower of Jesus is someone who
discerns when laughter, gentleness, silence, hearing
words, or prophetic indignation is called for, and
offers it promptly, effectively and lovingly.

Signs of Wise Spiritual Training


▶ Wise training respects the freedom of the Spirit.
Spiritual transformation is the work of God. We may
be aggressively pursuing it, but we cannot turn it on
and off. We can open ourselves to transformation
through certain practices, but we cannot engineer it.
We can take no credit for it.
▶ Our primary task is not to calculate how many verses
of Scripture we read or how many minutes we spend
in prayer. Our task is to use these activities to create
opportunities for God t work. Then what happens is
up to Him.
▶ Wise training respects our unique temperament
and gifts. Whatever your natural temperament may
be, it is not a barrier to your spiritual growth.
▶ Are you spontaneous or a well-organised-plan-ahead
type of person? Either way it doesn’t matter. We need
to discover how God wants us to grow, for His design
will not look quite the same for everyone.
▶ Wise training will take into account our season
of life. Our season of life, whatever it is, is not barrier
to having Christ formed in us. Not in the least. For
example, if you become a parent and your
circumstances change, your spiritual growth practices
will change with that also.
▶ Whatever our season of life, if offers its own
opportunities and challenges for spiritual growth.
Instead of wishing we were in another season, we

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ought to find out what this one offers. Life counts – all
of it, every moment.
▶ Wise training respects the inevitability of peaks
and troughs. There will be times of consolation and
times of desolation. Times when we are really close to
God and times when we are not.
▶ We assume that whatever phase is current will last
forever. In time of consolation we think that we have
spiritual life mastered. In times of desolation we
assume we have done something wrong and perhaps
God is punishing us. In truth both seasons are
valuable and have their purpose.
▶ Wise training begins with a clear decision. You
have to decide whether or not you want to commit to
spiritual growth and training.
▶ Final preparations. There are two types of sins: sins
of omission and sins of commission. Sins of omission
involve not doing things we ought to do; sins of
commission consists of things we do that we ought to
avoid.
▶ Similarly spiritual disciplines can be placed in two
categories – disciplines of engagement and disciplines
of abstinence. Disciplines of engagement involve
intentionally doing certain things. Worship, study,
fellowship and giving are all examples of engagement.
By contrast, disciplines of abstinence involve
intentionally refraining from doing things such as
fasting, solitude and silence.
▶ Here’s the connection: If you struggle with a sin of
commission, then you will be helped by practicing a
discipline of abstinence. So if you have a problem with
boasting (commission), then silence or secrecy
(abstinence) will help.
▶ If you struggle with the sin of omission, then you will
be helped by a discipline of engagement. For instance,
if you struggle with joylessness, the you will want to
immerse yourself in discipline of celebration.

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4. A “Dee Dah Day”: The practice of celebration
▶ Most people divide the time into to two categories:
living and waiting to live.
▶ Most of our life is in transit: trying to get somewhere,
waiting to begin, driving someplace, standing in line,
waiting for a meeting to end, trying to get a task
completed, worrying about something bad that might
happen, or being angry about something that did
happen. These are moments when we are not in the
present – thus not being aware of the voice and
purpose of God.
▶ Ironically, the thing that keeps us from experiencing
joy is our preoccupation with self.
▶ Joy is at the heart of God’s plan for human beings.
▶ We are invited to rejoice in every moment of life
because every moment of life is a gift.
▶ Joy is strength. Its absence will create weakness.
▶ Joyfulness is a learned skill. You must take
responsibility for your joy.
▶ People who want to pursue joy especially nee to
practice the discipline of celebration.
▶ Celebration generally involves activities that bring
pleasure, gathering with people we love.
▶ True celebration is the inverse of hedonism. Hedonism
is the demand for more and more pleasure for
personal gratification. It always follows the law of
diminishing returns, so that what produced joy in
us yesterday no longer dose today. Thus, our capacity
for joy diminishes.
▶ We all live with the illusion that joy will come
someday when conditions change. If we are going to
know joy, it must be in this day – today.
▶ True joy, comes only to those who have devoted their
lives to something greater than personal happiness.
▶ One test of authentic joy is its compatibility with pain.
▶ Surround yourself with joy-carriers. Similarly distant
yourself from joy-vampires.

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▶ Dedicate one day a week to acts of celebration: east
foods you lover to eat, listen to music that moves
your soul, play a sport, read a book, wear clothes that
make you happy – and as you do this thank God for
it.
▶ Devote your time to more meaningful endeavours
rather than watching TV: Get more sleep, read
something, or have a really good conversation.

5. An Unhurried Life: The practice of slowing


▶ To be spiritually healthy, we must ruthlessly
eliminate hurry from your lives.
▶ Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day.
Hurry can destroy our souls. Hurry can keep us from
living well. As Carl Jung wrote, “Hurry is not of the
devil; hurry is the devil.”
▶ By hurrying we will just kill our lives, instead of living
it.
▶ Symptoms of hurry sickness are:
▶ Constantly speeding up daily activities. We will
read faster, talk faster, nod faster and eat faster.
▶ Multiple-tasking. Hurry-sick people may drive, eat,
drink, monitor the radio, talk on the car phone, and
make gestures – all at the same time!
▶ Clutter. The lives of the hurry-sick lack simplicity.
They acquire stacks of books and magazines and feel
guilty for not reading them. We clutter our lives with
tasks and things to do.
▶ Superficiality. “Superficiality is the curse of your
age.” Depth always comes slowly. Perhaps one reason
that Abraham Lincoln achieved the depth of thought
he did is that he grew up with so little to read. He had
to understand everything, even to the smallest detail.
▶ An inability to love. Love and hurry are
incompatible. Love always takes time, and time is one
thing hurried people don’t have.

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▶ Sunset fatigue. When we come home at the end of a
day’s work, those who need our live the most, those
to whom we are most committed, end up getting the
leftovers. Sunset fatigue is when we are just too tired,
or too drained, or too preoccupied to lover the people
to whom we have made the deepest promises. Sunset
fatigue has sent it when:
1. you find yourself rushing even when there’s no
reason to
2. there is an underlying tension that causes
sharp words or quarrels
3. you sense a loss of gratitude and wonder
4. you indulge in self-destructive escapes from
fatigue: abusing alcohol, watching too much
TV, or eating too much.
▶ Because it kills – love – that hurry is the great enemy
of spiritual life.

Curing the hurry sickness


▶ Slowing. Cultivate patience by deliberately choosing
to slow down and put ourselves in positions where we
simply have to wait. For example, drive in the slow
lane. East food slowly: force yourself to chew at least
fifteen times before each swallow.
▶ The need for solitude. Solitude is the one place
where we can gain freedom from the forces of society
that will otherwise relentlessly mould us.
▶ Put a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will immediately
hop out. But put the frog in water and heat it slowly,
and the creature will stay there until it boils to death.
Put him in a lethal environment suddenly, and he will
escape. But introduce the danger gradually and he
will never notice.
▶ Solitude means to refrain from society: we withdraw
from conversation, from the presence of others, from
noise, from the constant barrage of stimulation.

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▶ We need brief periods of solitude on a regular basis,
ideally each day, and extended periods – half a day, a
day, or even a few days.
▶ At the end of the day, review the day with God: to go
over the events that took place, to see what He might
wan to say to us through them, nad to hand any
anxieties or regrets over to Him. A great benefit of
this exercise is that we begin to learn from our days.
▶ Reviewing the day: be still and quite; acknowledge
that God is present; go back though your day from
the morning as if on video; continue through the day
from scene to scene, as you do you will feel gratitude
or regret; end with a prayer of thanksgiving to God’s
mercy and love.
▶ Extended solitude can be affected by the mind
wandering. When you pray you may find yourself
immersed in an anger fantasy. In this fantasy
someone who hand hurt you was being deeply
wounded by the wrong they had done to you. Another
time, you may find yourself the object of a success
fantasy so grandiose that it would make Narcissus
blush with modesty.
▶ The answer is to improve a little bit each day. Brother
Lawrence said, “For many years I was bothered by
the thought that I was a failure at prayer. Then one
day I realized I would always be a failure at prayer;
and I’ve gotten along much better every since.”

6. Interrupting Heaven: The practice of prayer


▶ Desperate people pray. They pray without thinking
about it; they pray even if they are not sure who
they’re praying to or if anyone out there is listening at
all.
▶ It’s not bad to pray in a time of crisis. One of God’s
most amazing attributes is that He is humble enough
to accept people when they turn to Him in sheer

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desperation, even when they have been ignoring Him
for years.
▶ Desperation prayers have been the beginning of
spiritual life for many people.
▶ Many people believe that their prayers won’t change
God’s actions, so they ask themselves what the point
is of praying.
▶ All prayers rise before God. They are heard. They
matter.
▶ The Bible’s teaching on prayer leads overwhelmingly
to one conclusion: Prayer changes things.
▶ It pays to haggle with God. Prayer is impertinent,
persistent, shameless, and inappropriate.
▶ Prayer is a learned behaviour. Nobody is born an
expert at it. No one ever masters prayer.
▶ To pray we need two things: time and a place.
▶ Set aside five minutes, at the same time every day to
pray and stick to it no matter what.
▶ Find the right setting to pray. Sometimes go outside
to a lake or to the ocean. Sometimes light a candle.
▶ Prayer requires certain level of preparation.
▶ Take a few deep breaths and allow your mind to slow
down. Perhaps focus on a physical object. You may
want to whisper Yá Bahá’u’l-Abhá a few times.
▶ Pray for what is really on your heart, not what you’d
wish to be on your heart.
▶ Nothing kills prayer faster than when I pretend in
prayer to be more noble than I really am.

Learning to be present
▶ People’s mind wander when they prayer: Spiritual
Attention Deficit Disorder. People feel guilty about
this. It feels like a kind of failure. And of course, it
does indicate a need to pause and refocus attention.
▶ Sometimes it may mean that if your mind keeps
returning to a particular topic curing prayer, it is
probably an indication that this is the topic that is of

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most concern to you and you need to talk to God
about.
▶ Other times you many find yourself in an anger
fantasy involving someone. Instead talk the person
and tell him how you feel. This may also mean that
you might have issues around resentment and
forgiveness – so stop and talk with God about your
anger.
▶ While praying you many have a fantasy about
achieving some grandiose accomplishment and at
those times you need to talk to God about your need
to feel important and inappropriate ways you feed
that need.
▶ It may be far better to think of these wandering
thoughts as stepping stones to prayer rather than as
barriers.
▶ To be fully present, you have to become aware of and
speak with God about what is actually happening
within you during prayer. So be aware of and reflect
on what is actually happening to you when you pray
and make yourself aware of God’s presence.
▶ Prayer, perhaps more than any other activity, is the
concrete expression of the fact that we are invited
into a relationship with God. Prayer is talking with
God about what you we are doing together.

7. Appropriate Smallness – the practice of


servanthood
▶ Some of the oldest sins are: Vanity, stubbornness and
pride.
▶ Pride destroys our capacity to love. It moves us to
judge rather than to serve. Pride means not only that
we want to be smart and wealthy, but also that we
will not be satisfied until we are smarter and wealthier
than those around us.

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The confusing thing called humility
▶ All who humble themselves will be exalted.
▶ Humility is not about beating ourselves up or trying to
make ourselves nothing.
▶ Humility has to do with submitted willingness. It
involves a healthy self-forgetfulness. We will know we
have begun to make progress in humility when we
find that we get so enabled by the Holy Spirit to live
in the moment that we cease to be preoccupied with
ourselves, one way of the other. When we are with
others, we are truly with them, not wondering how
they can be of benefit to us.
▶ “Once in a while I go on a diet. At those times, if I am
in a restaurant, watching people eat, I find certain
thoughts involuntarily running through my mind. How
can people east this stuff? How can they treat their
bodies this way? Don’t they now this junk is lethal?
Have they no discipline, no self-restraint?”
▶ Here’s the problem: When you try to do something
good, you are intensely aware of it. And you tend to
be aware of other people who aren’t putting forth the
same effort. Then you tend to start comparing your
effort. The result is pride, comparison, judgmental,
and lack of love.

Servanthood
▶ A good reason for servanthood is that even though we
are imperfect, in helping others, we receive strength.
▶ Servanthood is giving yourself to those who can bring
you no status or clout.
▶ Servanthood is not being exempt from mundane
work. Nobody is too good to perform the lowliest task.
▶ Stop sizing up people from your first meeting, for
example, when in a group: Here is a troubled,
whining, recovery junkie type. Here is a traditional,
hyper-rational, old-school character who will not
discover or reveal his heart. Here is a wise, high-

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functioning person from whom I can learn… ready to
listen to and try to connect with those who seemed
advanced and to endure those who seemed to lag
behind. The aim is to – let go of evaluations and allow
God to speak. Look for what God is trying to say to
you through people.
▶ The ministry of bearing with another is more than
simply tolerating difficult people. It is also learning to
hear God speak through them. It is learning to be
there for them. It is learning that the difficult person I
have most to deal with is in fact me.
▶ “Bearing with people” doesn’t require becoming best
friends, but means learning to wish them well,
releasing our right to hurt them back.

8. Life Beyond Regret: The practice of confession


▶ Six-step process to confession:
1. Preparation. Place yourself into the care of
God and ask for help. If left to ourselves, we
are prone to self-condemnation for things
about which we should not feel guilty;
alternatively, prone to glossing over the truly
ugly stains that demand attention.
2. Self-examination. This entails taking time to
reflect on our thoughts, words, and deeds and
acknowledging that we have sinned. One way
to approach self-examination is to think
through various categories of sin: pride, anger,
lust, envy, greed, gluttony and sloth. When
confessing be specific, for example, I lied to
my boss for not going to work, rather than “I
haven’t be truthful enough”. To confess means
to own up to the fact that our behaviour wasn’t
just the result of bad parenting, poor genes,
jealous siblings, or a chemical imbalance. But
confession means saying that somewhere in

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the mix was a choice, the choice was made by
us, and that choice needs to be forgiven.
3. Perception. We all have a capacity for self-
deception that works within us. We can lie to
avoid pain and hardly be aware we have done
so. We can flatter or seek to manipulate
almost without even being aware of it. So in
this step we ask for honest perception.
4. Why and what happened? Two questions to
ask will help to gain a new perception, the first
is, “Why did I do what I did?” We may feel the
reason why we gossiped about someone is that
we were feeling insignificant, jealous or hard-
done-by. Sin is often the attempt to meet a
legitimate need in an illegitimate way. Next
question is, “What happened as a result of my
sin?” Evaluate the consequences of that sin
which requires patience and quiet spirit.
5. A new feeling. After understanding comes a
new way of feeling. We sometimes experience
a stab of pain that call us to think again about
our actions. It is the still small voice that
nudges us and says, “You have spoken bitter
words that have hurt someone. You need to
put it right.”
6. A new promise. But confession is not just
naming what we have done in the past. It
involves our intentions about the future as
well. It requires a promise to and a covenant
with God not to commit that sin again.
7. The summit: healing grace. The final step is
– grace. This is not just the idea of grace, but
grace as a reality, being immersed in it, given
life by it.

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9. The Guided Life: Receiving guidance form the Holy
Spirit
▶ It is one thing to speak to God. It is another thing to
listen. When we listen to God, we receive guidance
form the Holy Spirit.
▶ In order to listen to God’s promptings we need to be –
fully present, not on autopilot.
▶ When you have a problem don’t dwell on it or worry
about it – pray on it.
▶ God can directly guide our thoughts without the aid of
intervening sounds or images.
▶ A key test to know whether we really want God’s
guidance is to ask, “How often do I seek God’s
guidance when I’m not facing trouble or a difficult
decision?”
▶ A helpful way to learn to see guidance is at first to
avoid seeking guidance for external decisions like
taking a job or who to marry. Start by seeking
guidance for the growth of your soul. The questions to
ask are:
1. How do I become a more truthful person?
2. Whom do I know who can reach me to pray in
a way that will nourish my soul?
3. What practices will enable me to live in joy
continually?

▶ When we face important decisions (like career


change), we must pray, seek guidance, and exercise
judgment, wisdom, initiative, choice and
responsibility.
▶ God does not intend that guidance be a shortcut to
escape making decisions and taking risks. Indeed,
God wants us to develop good judgment, and there is
no way to develop it apart from a process that
involves choices and risks.

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▶ God’s purpose in guidance is not to get us to perform
the right actions. His purpose is to help us become
the right kind of people.
▶ It only makes sense to ask God for guidance in the
context of a life committed to seeking first the
Kingdom.

10. A Life of Freedom: The Practice of Secrecy


▶ Some people live in bondage to what others think of
them. This is called “approval addiction”. If we find
ourselves often getting hurt by what others say about
us, by people expressing other than glowing opinions
abut us, we probably have it.
▶ If we habitually compare ourselves with other people,
if we find ourselves getting competitive in the most
ordinary situations, we probably have it.
▶ If we live with a nagging sense that we aren’t
important enough or special enough, or we get
envious of another’s success, we probably have it.
▶ If we keep trying to impress important people, we
probably have it.
▶ If we are worried that someone might think ill of us
should he or she find out we are an approval addict,
we probably have it.
▶ However, one of the fine arts of gracious living is the
art of living freely with our critics. When we have the
grace to be free in the presence of those who judge
our lives and evaluate our actions, we have Christian
freedom.
▶ Imagine receiving criticism or judgment as “a very
small thing”. Imagine being liberated from the need
to impress anyone. Imagine our sense of esteem no
longer resting on whether someone notices how
smart, or attractive, or successful we are. Imagine
being able to actually feel love toward someone who
expresses disapproval of us.

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▶ Unfortunately, even though we can tell ourselves
others aren’t thinking about us, that information alone
does not bring true inner freedom. When our identity
is wrapped up in whether or not we are perceived as
successful, we are set up for the approval addiction.
▶ When you catch yourself comparing yourself with
others or thinking, “I could be happy if only I had
what they have,” then you know to withdraw fro a
while and listen for another voice.
▶ In fact, it is not another person’s compliment or
approval that makes us feel good; rather, it is our
belief that there is validity to the compliment.
▶ People’s opinions are powerless until we validate
them. No one’s approval will affect us unless we grant
it credibility and status. The same holds true for
disapproval.
▶ This explains why people can accomplish
extraordinary things and still feel like a failure.
▶ Of course, being addicted to approval is not the same
as having a healthy appreciation for praise.
Affirmation and encouragement are good things. What
a sad world it would be if artists, sports stars, or
children never received any applaud or
encouragement.
▶ Receiving praise gracefully, without becoming an
addict, requires a well-ordered heart. It is not always
possible to know when we have crossed the line to
addiction, but there are some indictors.
▶ Comparison: Approval addicts find themselves
measuring their accomplishments against those of
other people.
▶ Deception: If we are approval addicts, our concern
for what others think about us inevitably leads us to
shade the truth.
▶ Resentment: When we crave approval too strongly,
we inevitably come to resent the very person whose
approval we seek.

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The practice of secrecy
▶ Jesus spoke of doing good deed and making sure no
one finds out about them. The point is that true
spiritual maturity means that we don’t feel the need
to congratulate ourselves because we’ve gotten
something right.
▶ The habit to impress others is called “impression
management.” This is trying to control the way others
think of us.

11.An Undivided Life: The Practice of Reflection on


Scripture
▶ The purity of hearth is to will one thing.
▶ The alternative to duplicity and to multiplicity is a life
characterised by simplicity. Strive first for the
Kingdom of God and His righteousness.
▶ The aim is to have purity of heart.
▶ We need to develop the practice of meditating on the
Word of God and the purpose of it is to have our
minds washed by the Word. Here are some
suggestions:
1. Ask God to meet in Scripture. Before you begin
reading, take a moment to ask God to speak to
you.
2. Read the Bible in a repentant spirit. Read the
Bible with a readiness to surrender everything.
Read it with a vulnerable hearth.
3. Meditate on a fairly brief passage or narrative.
In reading for transformation we have to read
slowly. The goal is not for us to get through
the Scriptures. The goal is to get the
Scriptures through us. While knowledge is vital
and should be prized, it also poses some
dangers. It often demolishes humility. The
phrase “know-it-all” is never used as a
compliment.

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4. Take one though or verse with you through the
day. What the mind repeats, it retains.
5. Allow this thought to become part of your
memory.

12.A life with a well-ordered heart: Developing your


own rule of life
▶ In conventional lifestyle people are after a balanced
life-style depicted in seven compartments:
Recreational, Relational, Financial, Spiritual,
Vocational, Physical, and Intellectual.
▶ However, this assumes that everyone starts on an
even playing field, which in real life that is not the
case, as people have various disadvantages in life
from family problems to critical illness. Ask a hungry
life in Somalia if he wants to achieve a balanced life.
▶ The balanced paradigm assumes that our problem is
external – a disorder in our schedule or our job or our
season of life. But the truly significant disorder is
internal.
▶ To have a well ordered-heart is to love
1. the right thing
2. to the right degree
3. in the right way
4. with the right kind of love.
▶ It is unlikely that we will deepen our relationship with
God in a casual or haphazard manner. There will be a
need for some intentional commitment and some
reorganisation in our own lives. But there is nothing
that will enrich our lives more than a deeper and
clearer perception of God’s presence in the routine of
daily living.
▶ Finding a strategy for spiritual transformation will
involve questions such as:
1. How and when will I pray?

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2. How will I handle money in a way that draws
me closer to God?
3. How can I approach work in a way that will
help Christ to be formed in me?
4. How am I involved in Christina community
such as corporate worship, fellowship, and
confession?
5. How can I fill my daily tasks with a sense of
the presence of God?
▶ All this means acting in the ways that Jesus had He
been in our position.
▶ Having an eye for beauty and appreciating everything
good fortune. As Paul said, “Whatever you do, in word
or deed, do everything in the name of Jesus.”

13.A life of Endurance: The experience of suffering


▶ Spiritual transformation will not happen without
perseverance and endurance.
▶ Suffering and pain are will inevitably produce
endurance and thus spiritual growth.
▶ So if we are going to be transformed, we must look at
how suffering benefits us, or at least how to respond
to it.
▶ A test is a difficult experience through which a
person’s true values, commitments, and beliefs are
revealed.
▶ In accordance to the Old Testament testing reveals
something about endurance:
1. It is used only in reference to the people of
God, never heathen nations.
2. It is applied only to people of faith, never to
the ungodly.
▶ Testing is reserved for those in a covenant
relationship with God. Even though it is painful.
Testing is an act of love. Suffering serves to test our
faith.

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▶ One of the most painful aspects of suffering is the
loneliness of it.
▶ Life is filled with minitrials. When someone interrupts
me, I can learn to graciously hold my tongue. When
my co-worker borrows something and doesn’t return
it immediately, I can learn patience. When I have a
headache, I can discover that it is possible to suffer
and not tell everybody about it.

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