Habits for Our Holiness Review

Book Review: 

I will never forget how one of my favorite books on spiritual disciplines, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life written by Donald Whitney, begins with the story of a young boy who is transported by an angel to Carnegie Hall where he is allowed to observe a future view of himself. In this future view, he effortlessly plays the guitar with great precision only to be told that that could be him if only he would practice. In the words of Donald Whitney, “Discipline without direction is drudgery.”
Philip Nation, author of Habits for our Holiness: How the Spiritual Disciplines Grow Us Up, Draw Us Together, and Send us Out, published by Moody Press, goes even a step further in his book on these disciplines in that he concludes that they are not just to make us holy, but also to make us ready for His mission. Spiritual disciplines, according to Nation, don’t just allow us to have greater intimacy with God, but they have a missional purpose in them where they make an impact in the lives of the people we encounter. I love how he makes that next step in this book showing us how to make it missional. I don’t recall seeing that in other books on discipline that I have encountered. The author is also very intentional to show in his book that love is the key. His first chapter is all about this. He wants us to love Him for Who He is and for our lives to reflect that love. That theme of love is strung all throughout his book. This is definitely more than a book of a list of things that we must do as Christians.
One of the characteristics that I believe makes this book on disciplines unique is the fact that it first gives you instruction concerning tackling a specific discipline alone; then it gives you instruction on how to do it with others. He shows how togetherness brings a whole new dimension to the discipline.
Another characteristic of this book that I appreciated is how the author takes each discipline and shows how bringing this into your life would cause you to rely on God. He shows you where your idols are. He shows you how these disciplines cause you to trust God, trust His goodness, trust His sufficiency, and trust His love.
I believe that the chapter on fasting may just be worth the whole book. Nations does a tremendous job of helping you understand the discipline and the true motivation behind it. I found his words very convicting and convincing that this is something that I need in my life now. I will be pulling this book back off of the shelf just to reread this section of the book.
I appreciated how he ends the book talking about the discipline of leadership and disciple making. As his subtitle suggests, these disciplines are not just meant to grow us up but send us out. At the end of the book he said, “It is time for you to live out the spiritual disciplines with love as the centerpiece and mission as the result.” Love and mission. That is one of the reasons I recommend this book.
This book is not your typical book on spiritual discipline. If you have read the classics like Foster and Whitney, you will appreciate Nation’s fresh take. I truly do recommend it for your consideration.
I received a copy of this book for an honest review.