“Accordingly, the practical aim of the one who takes obedience seriously is not to obey, but to become the kind of person who easily and routinely does obey as a result of devotion to Jesus and consequently of taking him as Lord, teacher and friend. The practical aim is to know him, to be devoted to him, in this inclusive manner.” Dallas Willard
It’s simplicity itself but completely unintuitive. Our human inclination is to do something in order to get better at it. Willard is suggesting the opposite approach; instead of trying harder to obey God, we should allow Him to mould us into the kind of person who willingly obeys without trying. It seems paradoxical on the surface, but it’s true of great leadership as well. Great leaders don’t have to run around intentionally trying to be a great leader; they do what comes naturally. Imagine what our lives would be like if we responded to God in that way!
So the goal of spiritual transformation is not to follow the rules, but to be the kind of person who wants to follow the rules & does so without effort.
Salvation is vital, but God wants more of us than our acceptance of Jesus as Lord; He wants us to become more like Jesus, and that requires intentionality on our parts through spiritual discipline and a willing heart.