Dallas Willard has had an enormous impact on my life via his books and teachings (if you haven’t read The Divine Conspiracy or Renovation of the Heart yet, stop whatever it is you’re doing and start reading them today — then proceed to read everything else he has written).
One of his greatest contributions to the area of transformation is what he calls The Reliable Pattern for Change (he unpacks this in chapter 5 of Renovation of the Heart and in this article, Living a Transformed Life Adequate to Our Calling. Willard reminds us that transformation is possible but it’s not likely unless the path you’re on includes these 3 elements (he refers to them as the VIM pattern):
- VISION: is the clear picture of the goal you are striving to reach.
- INTENTION: you have to intend to do it (transformation doesn’t happen by accident).
- MEANS: this includes the resources available to you to help bring about the change you are pursuing.
If you are missing any of these 3 elements, transformation simply will not happen. However, if all 3 are present and properly put in place then lasting transformation is possible.
Note: What I love about this pattern is that you can apply it to any type of change or transformation you are pursuing (losing weight, learning a new language or skill, growing as a follower of Jesus). In Willard’s writings you’ll see that he primarily uses the reliable pattern of change in the context of spiritual transformation (you’ll see a clear example of this fleshed out in the article I mentioned above — it’s well worth taking a few minutes to read today).
Your turn…How have you seen or experienced this reliable pattern for change in your life?
PS: this was originally posted last year under a different title.