Maturing Toward Wholeness in the Inner Life
Becoming Able to Live the Way Jesus Said Is Best
1 – Wholeness in the inner life is Christlikeness in the inner life. It develops as we learn to allow Jesus to teach us how to live.
2 – God did not give commandments because he enjoys making us do things we don’t want to do. They inform us how human life is designed to work.
3 – Jesus: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another (John 13:34). Anger, hatred, envy, contempt—these don’t fulfill us. Love does!
4 – Jesus and the apostles spoke of a life lived in personal relationship with God, characterized by fulfillment, joy, meaning and wholeness.
5 – The life Jesus offers us is one lived each moment in God’s Presence. There he teaches us how to actually do what he said was best.
6 – As we allow Jesus to teach us how to do life, moral victory (not perfection) develops. We learn how to respond well to whatever life brings.
7 – Many seem to feel wholeness in life is unattainable. Even ones who self-identify as Christians often abandon hope of personal victory. Why?
8 – Having been created by God to be like him and to live in his Presence, each of us made the disastrous decision to go away from him.
9 – We pushed back from God and sought a life of our own making. We went our own way. We thought we knew better how to find pleasure—happiness.
10 – My choice to break with God resulted not only in guilt, but also in extensive damage to my thoughts, emotions, will, body and relationships.
11 – My inner life has been deeply shaped by a world of wrongness—dysfunction both within me and in those around me. It now must be re-formed.
12 – Re-forming the inner life corresponds to the biblical processes of salvation and sanctification. It takes place in apprenticeship to Jesus.
13 – Jesus came to restore to us the life God originally created for us. This is salvation in its fullest sense. It involves four processes.
14 – New life from God grows in me as
- guilt is removed
- impurity is cleansed
- inner wounds are healed
- each part of my being is re-made.
15 – Parts of me needing to be re-made:
- heart (will)
- mind (thoughts, emotions)
- strength (body)
- relationships (neighbor).
16 – Jesus outlined the parts/components of a human person in responding to the scribe who asked which commandment was most important (Mark 12:28-31).
17 – As healing, and then newness, invade my heart, soul, mind, body and relationships, I become able from the heart to love God and my neighbor.
18 – These terms all refer in different ways to the same reality
- salvation (deliverance)
19 – In the Bible salvation means deliverance. Delivered from what? Guilt? Yes! Is that all? No! Also from bondage to the practice of sin (Rom 6:6).
20 – Israel’s salvation mirrors the Christian life. God
- delivered them from slavery
- formed them in the desert
- gave them the good land.
21 – Christ
- by his cross saves us from all sin’s effects
- in discipleship trains us how to access this gift
- by grace gives us a new life.
22 – This all comes to us by grace. We can never earn it, but we must choose it. Faith is a daily condition we choose, expressed by our actions.
23 – God is a gentleman. He does not force his will on us. He respects our decisions. He offers us newness of life—then awaits our response.
24 – Being remade into Christlikeness is a lifelong process. It has a beginning. It may have spiritual highs. But they cannot bypass the process.
25 – I am remade into a new person as I allow Jesus to teach me how to live. He is the wisest Teacher in all of history—no one else comes close.
26 – I gradually learn to rely on Jesus. His cross removes my guilt. His Presence cleanses me. His teachings instruct me. His Spirit re-forms me.
27 – My will must be fully engaged. I must choose God’s way each moment. The Holy Spirit will not do this “to” me or “for” me—only “with” me.
28 – I must distinguish “will” (choice) from “will-power” (trying harder). Willpower cannot change me. It is self-reliance. Its end is defeat.
29 – I cannot just decide by willpower to run a marathon. But I can choose to train, and in time become the kind of person who can run one.
30 – The Christian life is about the person I am becoming. I must choose it, but I don’t do it. The Spirit does it in apprenticeship to Jesus.
Draft: Updated—October 2016
Copyright © George Miley. All rights reserved. This material may not be reproduced, transmitted, or stored in whole or in part by any means, including graphic, electronic, or mechanical without the express written consent of the author except in the case of brief quotations embodied in articles or reviews. To obtain permission to use this material, contact us.