This quote was too good not to post. From Dallas Willard’s Revolution of Character, pages 14-15:
The revolution of Jesus is first and always a revolution of the human heart. His revolution does not proceed through the means of social institutions and laws—the outer forms of our existence—intending that these would then impose a good order of life upon people who come under their power. Rather, his is a revolution of character, which proceeds by changing people from the inside through ongoing personal relationship with God and one another. It is a revolution that changes people’s ideas, beliefs, feelings, and habits of choice, as well as their bodily tendencies and social relations. It penetrates the deepest layers of their soul. External, social arrangements may be useful to this end, but they are not the end, nor are they a fundamental part of the means.
On the other hand, from those divinely renovated depths of the person, social structures will naturally be transformed so that “justice roll[s] down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24, NRSV). Such streams cannot flow though corrupted souls. At the same time, a changed “within” will not cooperate with public streams of unrighteousness. A transformed soul will block those streams—or die trying.
The impotence of political and social systems to bring about real change is one of the reasons Jesus didn’t send his students out to start governments or even churches as we know them today. These organizations inevitably convey some elements of a human system. Instead, his disciples were to establish beachheads of his Person, word, and power in the midst of a failing and futile humanity. They were to bring the presence of the kingdom and its King into every corner of human life by fully living in the kingdom with him….Churches—thinking now of local assemblies of Christ’s followers—would naturally result from this new kind of life.