This is a fascinating progression. Two can communicate but still be at a distance from each other, even disagree. But when communication becomes intimate, two can progress to a state of communion. Agreement becomes natural, thoughts are shared, one finishes the others sentences. Still, there is the awareness of two distinct persons sharing a common purpose for a time. Union is the ultimate stage of two becoming one, where oneness comes from total commitment and unselfish love and a desire to know and please the other. In union, there is no notion of "mine" and "yours"; it is all "our". This is the meaning of "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me."

Galatians 2:20 (NKJV)

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Trust is the key to confidence in such a union with Christ. Think about the disciples with Jesus on the sea of Galilee during the storm in that boat being tossed about. Jesus was asleep and the disciples were afraid and woke him crying for him to save them. Jesus rebuked them for their little faith and then calmed the storm. Knowing who Jesus was, and knowing they were in the boat with him, what was there to worry about? Would Jesus go down and perish with them in the storm? Jesus could sleep because he had faith that nothing would happen to him apart from the Father's will. No worries. Apart from falling out of the boat, the disciples were as safe as Jesus was. They could have derived all of their faith from Jesus' faith. They did not need to rely on their own faith because Jesus was in the same boat with them. In a similar way, the one who is in union with Christ can derive all of his faith from Jesus...not only faith but love, power, and peace of mind. Is this not what is meant by "having the mind of Christ?"

1 Corinthians 2:16 (NKJV)

For "who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ.

If Christ is in me and I no longer depend upon myself, then I don't just share the same thoughts with Christ, His thoughts are my thoughts. This is the ultimate in communication. There is no more medium through which the communication must travel. There can be no error in transmission.

OK, I must admit, all that seems high and lofty and not practical at all. But you'd say the same thing about a marriage between two lovers so devoted to one another they might describe their union in the same terms. It is the necessity of total surrender to another that is the barrier to believing this can be true.

Willard presents some very practical techniques for progressing towards this union. I'll be studying those next.


Mark Olson

In lieu of trackback .... You've been highlighted today at WorldMag's 'BlogWatch'. Here: BTW: Who is Willard. It's not exactly clear from the essay.

Mark Olson

David Carroll

That's Dallas Willard, Professor of Philosophy at USC, also evangelical Christian and Southern Baptist, and former preacher. He has written *The Divine Conspiracy* and my recent blogging has been on his book *Hearing God*.

David Carroll

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