The Spiritual Disciplines Are for Enjoying Jesus

| March 21, 2016

Several rows of books in my library are dedicated to spiritual disciplines. The literature in the field has blossomed since the late 1970s when Richard Foster published his still-influential Celebration of Discipline.

Since that time, books such as Kent Hughes’s Disciplines of a Godly Man and Don Whitney’s Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life have become staples of small group studies and classroom texts. Lauren Winner’s Mudhouse Sabbath, Patrick Morely’s A Man’s Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines, and Siang-Yan Tan and Douglas Gregg’s Disciplines of the Holy Spirit have offered readers more niched takes on Christian practices, while Adele Calhoun’s Spiritual Disciplines Handbook is the most inclusive of the genre.

So why yet another book on the spiritual disciplines or, as David Mathis prefers, “habits of grace?” What can Mathis hope to say that hasn’t already been said?

Pastoral Motivation

Mathis, editorial director for Desiring God and pastor of Cities Church in Minneapolis-Saint Paul, reveals his pastoral heart in Habits of the Heart: Enjoying Jesus throught the Spiritual Disciplines. His goal is simple: to help Christians “simplify their approach to their various personal habits of grace.” In so doing he groups the spiritual practices in an original and helpful way: “hearing God’s voice…

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