A powerful insight about grace

USC professor and author Dallas Willard

Early this year, I had the privilege of seeing and hearing philosopher, professor, and author Dallas Willard speak in person at the Catalyst West 2010 conference, where he was interviewed on stage by one of my favorite authors and speakers, John Ortberg.

This session was one of the highlights of the conference for me. Willard is not only brilliant and deep, he’s incredibly funny and witty, too. A guy named Jake Ishmael even tweeted: “Dallas Willard makes Yoda look like an idiot.” Sorry to all the Star Wars fans, but I have to agree!

Willard had several Twitter-worthy statements, but there was one that still resonates with me today:

“Grace doesn’t make us passive…
We have to understand, grace is not opposed to effort.
It’s opposed to earning.
Effort is action. Earning is attitude.
You can’t mix God’s action with you with
the idea that ‘I’m earning this’.
That’s the wrong basis for the relationship.”

You can view part of the interview here: (the part about grace begins at 1:54)

While I was doing my research for this post, I came across a transcript of some remarks given by Dallas Willard at the C.S. Lewis Foundation Summer Conference at the University of San Diego. I think it just changed me. If you’re a teacher, you might want to read it.

Since I don’t know how to reach him, I’ll just say this here: thank you, Mr. Willard, for opening my mind and speaking to my heart.

What can you say about effort vs. earning? Does this insight help you?

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If you liked this, you might be interested in these related posts:

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2 responses to “A powerful insight about grace

  1. Wow. I love this. Thanks for sharing, Liz! I’m gonna look around your blog some more. I see some pretty interesting stuff. :D -Cecil Brady-Jacinto

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