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AN INDIVIDUALS DIGEST OF

JOHN ORTBERGS

THE LIFE YOUVE 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.

and read the actual original book which will in no doubt leave a lasting memory. anousha

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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