Quotes from The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God

Dallas Willard ·  448 pages

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“Suppose our failures occur, not in spite of what we are doing, but precisely because of it.”
― Dallas Willard, quote from The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God


“We must understand that God does not "love" us without liking us - through gritted teeth - as "Christian" love is sometimes thought to do. Rather, out of the eternal freshness of his perpetually self-renewed being, the heavenly Father cherishes the earth and each human being upon it. The fondness, the endearment, the unstintingly affectionate regard of God toward all his creatures is the natural outflow of what he is to the core - which we vainly try to capture with our tired but indispensable old word "love".”
― Dallas Willard, quote from The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God


“What is truly profound is thought to be stupid and trivial, or worse, boring, while what is actually stupid and trivial is thought to be profound. That is what it means to fly upside down.”
― Dallas Willard, quote from The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God


“The idea of having faith in Jesus has come to be totally isolated from being his apprentice and learning how to do what he said.”
― Dallas Willard, quote from The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God


“[Jesus] matters because of what he brought and what he still brings to ordinary human beings, living their ordinary lives and coping daily with their surroundings. He promises wholeness for their lives. In sharing our weaknesses he gives us strength and and imparts through his companionship a life that has the quality of eternity." (Dallas Willard in Ruthless Trust - Brennan Manning)”
― Dallas Willard, quote from The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God



“Jesus, Willard says, “does not call us to do what he did, but to be as he was, permeated with love. Then the doing of what he did and said becomes the natural expression of who we are in him.”
― Dallas Willard, quote from The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God


“The truly powerful ideas are precisely the ones that never have to justify themselves.”
― Dallas Willard, quote from The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God


“So when Jesus directs us to pray, “Thy kingdom come,” he does not mean we should pray for it to come into existence. Rather, we pray for it to take over at all points in the personal, social, and political order where it is now excluded: “On earth as it is in heaven.” With this prayer we are invoking it, as in faith we are acting it, into the real world of our daily existence.”
― Dallas Willard, quote from The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God


“Many people have found prayer impossible because they thought they should only pray for wonderful but remote needs they actually had little or no interest in or even knowledge of. Prayer simply dies from efforts to pray about ‘good things’ that honestly do not matter to us. The way to get to meaningful prayer for those good things is to start by praying for what we are truly interested in. The circle of our interests will inevitably grow in the largeness of God’s love.” --Dallas Willard”
― Dallas Willard, quote from The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God


“Kingdom praying and its efficacy is entirely a matter of the innermost heart's being totally open and honest before God. It is a matter of what we are saying with our whole being, moving with resolute intent and clarity of mind into the flow of God's action.”
― Dallas Willard, quote from The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God



“Some current critics of the U.S. Supreme Court like to point out that it does not allow the Ten Commandments, though written upon the walls of its own chambers, to be displayed in public schools. But where do we find churches, right or left, that put them on their walls? The Ten Commandments really aren’t very popular anywhere. This is so in spite of the fact that even a fairly general practice of them would lead to a solution of almost every problem of meaning and order now facing Western societies. They are God’s best information on how to lead a basically decent human existence.”
― Dallas Willard, quote from The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God


“The adult members of churches today rarely raise serious religious questions for fear of revealing their doubts or being thought of as strange. There is an implicit conspiracy of silence on religious matters in the churches. This conspiracy covers up the fact that the churches do not change lives or influence conduct to any appreciable degree.”
― Dallas Willard, quote from The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God


“It was an important day in my life when at last I understood that if he needed forty days in the wilderness at one point, I very likely could use three or four.”
― Dallas Willard, quote from The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God


“We were built to count, as water is made to run downhill. We are placed in a specific context to count in ways no one else does. That is our destiny.”
― Dallas Willard, quote from The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God


“He is not just nice, he is brilliant. He is the smartest man who ever lived. He is now supervising the entire course of world history (Rev. 1:5) while simultaneously preparing the rest of the universe for our future role in it (John 14:2). He always has the best information on everything and certainly also on the things that matter most in human life. Let us now hear his teachings on who has the good life, on who is among the truly blessed.”
― Dallas Willard, quote from The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God



“In the Gospels, by contrast, “the gospel” is the good news of the presence and availability of life in the kingdom, now and forever, through reliance on Jesus the Anointed. This was Abraham’s faith, too. As Jesus said, “Abraham saw my time and was delighted” (John 8:56). Accordingly, the only description of eternal life found in the words we have from Jesus is “This is eternal life, that they [his disciples] may know you, the only real God, and Jesus the anointed, whom you have sent” (John 17:3). This may sound to us like “mere head knowledge.” But the biblical “know” always refers to an intimate, personal, interactive relationship.”
― Dallas Willard, quote from The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God


“The “interior castle” of the human soul, as Teresa of Avila called it, has many rooms, and they are slowly occupied by God, allowing us time and room to grow.”
― Dallas Willard, quote from The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God


“This present universe is only one element in the kingdom of God. But it is a very wonderful and important one. And within it the Logos, the now risen Son of man, is currently preparing for us to join him (John 14:2–4). We will see him in the stunning surroundings that he had with the Father before the beginning of the created cosmos (17:24). And we will actively participate in the future governance of the universe. We will not sit around looking at one another or at God for eternity but will join the eternal Logos, “reign with him,” in the endlessly ongoing creative work of God. It is for this that we were each individually intended, as both kings and priests (Exod. 19:6; Rev. 5:10). Thus, our faithfulness over a “few things” in the present phase of our life develops the kind of character that can be entrusted with “many things.” We are, accordingly, permitted to “enter into the joy of our Lord” (Matt. 25:21). That “joy” is, of course, the creation and care of what is good, in all its dimensions. A place in God’s creative order has been reserved for each one of us from before the beginnings of cosmic existence. His plan is for us to develop, as apprentices to Jesus, to the point where we can take our place in the ongoing creativity of the universe.”
― Dallas Willard, quote from The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God


“legalists and theological experts with “lips close to God and hearts far away from him” (Isa. 29:13). The world hardly needs more of these.”
― Dallas Willard, quote from The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God


“The key, then, to loving God is to see Jesus, to hold him before the mind with as much fullness and clarity as possible. It is to adore him.”
― Dallas Willard, quote from The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God



“Dear Father always near us, may your name be treasured and loved, may your rule be completed in us— may your will be done here on earth in just the way it is done in heaven. Give us today the things we need today, and forgive us our sins and impositions on you as we are forgiving all who in any way offend us. Please don’t put us through trials, but deliver us from everything bad. Because you are the one in charge, and you have all the power, and the glory too is all yours—forever— which is just the way we want it!”
― Dallas Willard, quote from The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God


“But Jesus’ own gospel of the kingdom was not that the kingdom was about to come, or had recently come, into existence. If we attend to what he actually said, it becomes clear that his gospel concerned only the new accessibility of the kingdom to humanity through himself.”
― Dallas Willard, quote from The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God


“But the treasure we have in heaven is also something very much available to us now. We can and should draw upon it as needed, for it is nothing less than God himself and the wonderful society of his kingdom even now interwoven in my life. Even now we “have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless angels, and to the assembled church of those born earlier and now claimed in the heavens; and to God who discerns all, to the completed spirits of righteous people, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new agreement” (Heb. 12:22–24). This is not by-and-by, but now.”
― Dallas Willard, quote from The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God


“Recently a pilot was practicing high-speed maneuvers in a jet fighter. She turned the controls for what she thought was a steep ascent—and flew straight into the ground. She was unaware that she had been flying upside down. This is a parable of human existence in our times—not exactly that everyone is crashing, though there is enough of that—but most of us as individuals, and world society as a whole, live at high-speed, and often with no clue to whether we are flying upside down or right-side up. Indeed, we are haunted by a strong suspicion that there may be no difference—or at least that it is unknown or irrelevant.”
― Dallas Willard, quote from The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God


“And if you are already flying upside down and don’t know it, your cleverness will do you little good.”
― Dallas Willard, quote from The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God



“Yet today, from countless paintings, statues, and buildings, from literature and history, from personality and institution, from profanity, popular song, and entertainment media, from confession and controversy, from legend and ritual—Jesus stands quietly at the center of the contemporary world, as he himself predicted. He so graced the ugly instrument on which he died that the cross has become the most widely exhibited and recognized symbol on earth.”
― Dallas Willard, quote from The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God


“The Beatitudes, in particular, are not teachings on how to be blessed. They are not instructions to do anything. They do not indicate conditions that are especially pleasing to God or good for human beings. No one is actually being told that they are better off for being poor, for mourning, for being persecuted, and so on, or that the conditions listed are recommended ways to well-being before God or man. Nor are the Beatitudes indications of who will be on top “after the revolution.” They are explanations and illustrations, drawn from the immediate setting, of the present availability of the kingdom through personal relationship to Jesus. They single out cases that provide proof that, in him, the rule of God from the heavens truly is available in life circumstances that are beyond all human hope.”
― Dallas Willard, quote from The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God


“He comes where we are, and he brings us the life we hunger for. An early report reads, “Life was in him, life that made sense of human existence” (John 1:4). To be the light of life, and to deliver God’s life to women and men where they are and as they are, is the secret of the enduring relevance of Jesus. Suddenly they are flying right-side up, in a world that makes sense.”
― Dallas Willard, quote from The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God


“Accordingly, the kingdom of God is not essentially a social or political reality at all. Indeed, the social and political realm, along with the individual heart, is the only place in all of creation where the kingdom of God, or his effective will, is currently permitted to be absent. That realm is the “on earth” of the Lord’s Prayer that is opposed to the “in heaven” where God’s will is, simply, done. It is the realm of what is cut out “by hands,” opposed to the kingdom “cut out without hands” of Daniel, chapter 2.”
― Dallas Willard, quote from The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God


“The gospel of the kingdom is that no one is beyond beatitude, because the rule of God from the heavens is available to all. Everyone can reach it, and it can reach everyone. We respond appropriately to the Beatitudes of Jesus by living as if this were so, as it concerns others and as it concerns ourselves.”
― Dallas Willard, quote from The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God



About the author

Dallas Willard
Born place: in Buffalo, Missouri, The United States
Born date September 4, 1935
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