Today, I’m getting started with a journey through Don Whitney’s book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Will you join in with me? This is a great book for spiritual growth, development, and encouragement in the faith. Why a public reading of the book on the blog? I made reference to the fact that I’m leading our church through it during the summer and each week we will gather to discuss the chapters. Several people asked if I would consider offering an online study for those who lived out of state and couldn’t attend our church. After receiving multiple requests, I decided to offer a public group here on the blog and below you will see the overview of the study and goals that I hope to achieve this summer.
Why Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life?
Nothing comes easy in life. No matter how many times the advertisements for that workout system try to convince you that just a few minutes of commitment will turn your body into a fine tuned machine, it’s impossible. In order to look like the model who is demonstrating the machine, you will need to discipline yourself in your diet, discipline yourself in your physical fitness workouts, and discipline your mind to make you get out of bed each day and remain committed. In many ways, spiritual growth is the same way. You can’t expect to become spiritually mature, grounded, and growing in holiness by accident. It requires discipline. This summer we will read through Don Whitney’s book and examine the discipline of Bible reading, prayer, worship, evangelism, solitude, worship, journaling and more.
In Ephesians 4:1-16, the apostle Paul provides an overview of the church’s purpose and how it achieves unity and spiritual maturity. Once again, Paul makes it abundantly clear that it’s not by accident. The pastor-teachers are to be equipping the body for the work of ministry (Eph. 4:11-12). In this section of his letter, Paul frequently employs words such as “mature” and “grow” to illustrate the need for the church to move beyond the childlike status and achieve the status of manhood and womanhood in Christ.
In the Christian life, I’ve noticed a massive problem of immaturity. There is a plague of perpetual adolescence that seems to hamper the church today, and apparently similar problems were taking place in Paul’s day. The point remains clear, we must all work diligently to strive for maturity. We don’t want to be the social media Christians who post Bible verses, quotes, and attend study groups while living a secret carnal life behind the curtain of life. The world has witnessed enough fakes.
As I think about my personal plans for this summer, I plan to hang out with my family on vacation, go to Six Flags and other parks, and make memories that will last a lifetime. In a similar way, I don’t want to waste my summer spiritually. I want to look back at the end of this summer and see how I grew in spiritual maturity. I hope this summer will be spiritually profitable for you as well.
Comments and Interaction
If you want to discuss the details, post comments and I will strive to interact with you through the study each week. Perhaps if others post comments and questions, we can have a profitable dialogue as we read through this book.
Schedule to Follow
- May 26 – Overview and Purpose of the Study
- June 2 – Chapter 1
- June 9 – Chapter 2
- June 16 – Chapter 3
- June 23 – Chapter 4
- June 30 – Chapter 5
- July 7 – Chapter 6
- July 14 – Chapter 7
- July 21 – Chapter 8
- July 28 – Chapter 9
- August 4 – Chapter 10
- August 11 – Chapter 11
- August 18 – Chapter 12
- August 25 – Chapter 13
Where to Buy the Book
I look forward to reading this book with you this summer. All that’s required of you is to purchase the book and read chapter 1 before June 2nd when the first article will appear here on the blog.
Ephesians 4:11-14 – And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.