Lately I have been greatly desiring to grow in the spiritual disciplines as a means of growing closer to God and being transformed into the image of Christ. I have read books by Dallas Willard and Don Whitney in the past. When I heard about Habits of Grace by David Mathis (published by Crossway), I was excited to read through it.
In many ways, this book is very similar to many books that are out on the spiritual disciplines. There is, however, one thing that makes this book distinct. It breaks the disciplines down broadly into three categories: Hear His Voice, Have His Ear, and Belong to His Body. Mathis explains that the organization of the book is intended to “help Christians young and old simplify their various personal habits of grace, or spiritual disciplines” (location 194, Kindle edition).
The first category covers Scripture reading, study, meditation on Scripture, and memorization of Scripture.
The second category covers prayer (both individual and corporate), fasting, and journaling.
The third category covers fellowship, corporate worship, listening to preaching, baptism, the Lord’s supper, and listening to rebuke (a very interesting addition, and one I found very inspiring).
There is a separate section that covers missions and evangelism, managing our money, and managing our time.
I appreciate the Bible-centered focus of this book. Whitney’s book is similar. Not all books on the disciplines emphasize the importance of Scripture by referring to it throughout the book. Habits of Grace, however, keeps the word central. There is also an emphasis on the grace of God being the central means of our growing in the disciplines. It is God’s working in us, not our striving on our own power, that enables us to be transformed into the image of Christ.
As I have been memorizing Scripture recently, the chapter on memorizing really hit me. I also like the chapter on journaling. Mathis does a good job emphasizing how journaling can be an extension of meditating on Scripture and prayer to God. I have always focused on journaling as primarily a way to record what I am thinking or doing, so this focus was an interesting one for me to consider.
One of the most powerful chapters to me was the chapter on using time wisely. I have been struggling lately with feeling like I often waste too much time, and this chapter really hit home to me how important it is to see our time as a gift from God to be stewarded just as we might steward our money or possessions. I would like to read this chapter a few more times to really internalize it.
I highly recommend picking up Habits of Grace if you are looking for a short, Bible-centered book on spiritual discipline. You will not regret it.
*Note: I received a complimentary digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.