Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Book Recommendation – Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life - Whitney

When you hear a word like Discipline I think we immediately begin to resist and conjure up images of doing thankless tasks without reward or joy. And this is where Donald Whitney’s book shines so clearly. He has taken the title and thrust of his book from I Timothy 4:7 where Paul writes “Discipline yourself for the purpose of Godliness.” (NASB) Dr. Whitney holds out for us the outcome and that is Godliness, Christ-likeness. We are often willing to go through some absurd hardships for things that bring us joy. Men practice for hours learning how to swing a golf club because they enjoy the outcome of being good at golf. In this book we are shown some of the avenues available to us to grow into godliness where true and lasting joy are available.

The Disciplines that are discussed are as follows; Bible Intake, Prayer, Worship, Evangelism, Serving, Stewardship, Fasting, Silence and Solitude, Journaling, and Learning. Some of the Disciplines discussed at the beginning of the book are the more traditional and familiar, and he does an excellent job showing us how we can pursue godliness through these practices. As the chapters go on we get into more unfamiliar territory and I think that this is a real benefit for us. We are exposed to new Disciplines that can aid our pursuit of conformity to the image of Christ.

I will not belabor this post but I want to recommend this book very highly. This would make a great book for your summer reading. Helping you to get refocused on our calling to grow into the image of Christ.

2 comments:

John said...

Jaimie,

The book is a great help. I am using it even as I preach on "5 Keys to the Christian Life." Let me ask you this though, would we be better served reading that or Jerry Bridges' "The Pursuit of Holiness?" I am inclined toward the latter.

Jamie Fugate said...

John,

I guess that would depend, Jerry Bridges book is certainly outstanding and is THE book to read on holiness written in our lifetime, but it is a broader approach to the topic of holiness. Bridges is writing about what it means to be holy, whereas Whitney is telling us the everyday process that God uses to grow us into holy people, so I would not really compare them but would use them in tandem as a powerful combination. Bridges showing us what holiness is, giving us a breathtaking panoramic view. Then with Whitney helping us to get our hands dirty in the process of making that vision a reality.

If I have misread either book please correct me brother.

In Christ, Jamie