Most of us probably do not think of the positive aspects of discipline. This word reminds me of my dad and getting a spanking or being grounded by him. It also discourages me as I am faced with the many times I have failed in disciplining myself in some area. Habits of Grace by David Mathis is a book on spiritual disciplines but with a different focus:
“My hope in reshifting the focus from the spiritual disciplines to the means of grace-and then the various personal habits of grace that we develop in light of them-is to keep the gospel and energy of God at the center, to draw in the essential (and often neglected) corporate aspect, and to simplify the way we think about these practices (as hearing God’s voice, having his ear and belonging to his body).”
It is with our hearing of God’s voice that Mathis begins his book. We do this of course through reading the bible, applying it to our lives, meditating and memorizing scripture, and studying the bible. He covers each of these topics in-depth with doable practices we can incorporate into our lives.
Next Mathis brings our attention to prayer or as he calls it having his ear. He encourages the reader not just in the personal aspects of prayer but also in corporate prayer. I especially enjoyed his five lessons learned in leading small-group prayer:
- Make it regular.
- Start with scripture.
- Limit share time.
- Encourage brevity and Focus.
- Pray without show, but with others in mind.
My favorite section was on being a part of a church body and what that fellowship means to a believer.
“But true fellowship not only labors to win the lost, but serves to keep fellow saints saved.”
In these chapters we see the need for genuine fellowship that involves corporate worship, faithful preaching, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and accountability among the body.
In conclusion the reader is challenged in the area of missions, disciplemaking, and stewardship of our time and finances.
Have you become slack in the area of spending time with the Lord or your church family? This book will encourage you to establish once again these habits of grace that help us maintain our vital relationship with Christ and our church. A study guide is also available.
I received this book from Crossway Publishers in exchange for a honest review.