Today’s review in on Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney.
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life was a reread for me. I read it alongside Disciplines of a Godly Woman by Barbara Hughes (review to come), because I was curious to see what spiritual disciplines both authors recommended. I had first read Spiritual Disciplines right before my freshman year of college, and I remembered liking it. Since then I have read of the author’s other titles, Praying the Bible (which I highly recommend).
For the most part, I enjoyed my reread of Spiritual Disciplines. I appreciate how for most of them the author was able to add quite a bit of scriptural evidence for each one -except journaling. I also appreciate how he opens up the book with why it is important to practice the spiritual disciplines in order to grow in godliness. Although, I will admit this is a concept I still struggle with, not because I don’t think it is important, but rather that I have a hard time resolving it to how we aren’t saved by works, etc. But that’s just me, and probably because I recognize my bent for legalism.
I agreed wit the author on almost all the spiritual disciplines he recommends. However, there were a couple that seemed a bit of stretch – the one that is at the front of my mind is journaling. While I myself am an avid journaler, I personally don’t view it as a spiritual discipline, and I feel like it is a stretch to say everyone should do it. I do recognize the importance of journaling, but I don’t recognize it as a spiritual discipline.
Another complain I have is that about halfway through the book it seemed to turn into a bunch of lists, with some exposition throw in. There were a couple of times I also felt like some of the verses were used out of context, but I can’t think of specific examples right now.
While I have those two criticisms of the book, I still found it to be a beneficial read. I also gleaned a lot of nuggets of truth that stood out to me. i would like to share some of my favorite quotes before I end off.
“The spiritual disciplines are the God-given means we are to use in the Spirit-filled pursuit of godliness” (p.15).
“The purpose of all methods of Bible intake is obedience to what God says and the development of Christlikeness” (p.25).
“The ongoing worship of God cannot be separated from the Word of God” (p.26).
“Worship often includes words and actions, but it goes beyond them to the focus of the mind and heart. Worship is the God-centered focus and response of the inner man; it is being preoccupied with God” (p.82).
“The people of God do not serve Him in order to be forgiven, but because we are forgiven” (p.115)
“Worship empowers serving; serving expresses worship. Godliness requires a disciplined balance between the two” (p.121)
Overall, while I did have a few minor issues with this book, I do highly recommend this for all believers, old or new! It provides some great insights and tips and tricks. 4/5 Stars.
Janelle L. C.