Jesus— and the entire New Testament, for that matter— defines eternal life only once, with great precision, and in a way that has been largely lost in our day.
This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. JOHN 17:3, nrsv
To know God means to know what Paul called “the power of his resurrection” (Philippians 3:10) in the details and tasks and challenges of my daily, ordinary life.
God is not waiting for eternity to begin. God lives in it right now.
“The New Testament is a book about disciples, by disciples, and for disciples of Jesus Christ. “- Dallas Willard
Discipleship is a journey— a lifelong journey in which we learn to live the life that Jesus offers. For many centuries, that journey was described using certain stages:
- Awakening: I become aware of God’s extraordinary presence in my ordinary days. I wake up to love, gratitude, wonder, and responsibility.
- Purgation: I confess my character defects. I humbly ask God to remove them. I engage in practices that can help free me from them.
- Illumination: I begin to change at the level of my automatic perceptions and beliefs. My “mental map” of how things are begins to look like Jesus’ mental map.
- Union: I begin to experience the life that Jesus invited us into when he said, “Abide in me, and I will abide in you” (see John 15:4).