At least twice a year I have worked through a book with different groups of men and women. It’s called Disciplining Yourself For the Purpose of Godliness by Don Whitney. It’s a dry title and frankly a dry book. But I have yet to find a better one for simply defining what spiritual disciplines are, why they’re important, and then practically illustrating what the disciplines look like. If I want to be like Jesus than I must train for it. I don’t just wake up and discover that I’m like Jesus. Yes, God does the work in our life, but uses biblical, time tested, and let’s face it hard methods to do his work. Things like bible study, prayer, fasting, bible memory, journaling, silence and solitude, evangelism, service, etc. Just like an athlete must eat right and train and put it in the hard and many times unwanted work to accomplish his dream. Just like a medical student must go through school, tests, clinicals, residency, etc to become a doctor. So must a Christian discipline him/herself if they want to be like Jesus.
Paul wrote this: Exercise daily in God, no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. You can count on this. Take it to heart. This is why we’ve thrown ourselves into this venture so totally. We’re banking on the living God, Savior of all men and women, especially believers. (The Message 1 Timothy 4:7-10)
Now, I’m going to do this discipline book and one other in winter spring of 08. Anybody want in?