Tuesday, October 18, 2011

after you believe

"As I have already hinted, people tend to go in one of two directions when they think of how to behave. You can live by rules, by a sense of duty, by an obligation imposed on you whether you feel like doing it or not. Or you can declare that you are free from all that sort of thing and able to be yourself, to discover your true identity, to go with your heart, to be authentic and spontaneous...

The fundamental answer we shall explore in this book is that what we're 'here for' is to become genuine human beings, reflecting the God in whose image we're made, and doing so in worship on the one hand and in mission, in its full and large sense, on the other; and that we do this not least by 'following Jesus.' The way this works out is that it produces, through the work of the Holy Spirit, a transformation of character. This transformation will mean that we do indeed 'keep the rules'--though not out of a sense of externally imposed 'duty,' but out of the character that has been formed within us. And it will mean that we do indeed 'follow our hearts' and live 'authentically'--but only when, with that transformed character fully operative, the hard work up front bears fruit in spontaneous decisions and actions that reflect what has been formed deep within. And, in the wider world, the challenge we face is to grow and develop a fresh generation of leaders, in all walks of life, whose character has been formed in wisdom and public service, not in greed for money or power.

The heart of it-- the central thing that is suppose to happen 'after you believe'--is thus the transformation of character."

- N.T. Wright, After You Believe

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