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Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (Pilgrimage Growth Guide) Paperback – June 1, 1997

4.7 out of 5 stars 127 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

FREEDOM. THE REWARD OF DISCIPLINE. It's not uncommon for an accomplished musician to be able to sit down in front of a new piece of music and play it through without a hitch. He makes it seem easy, as if it required no effort. Yet, the "freedom" to play with such skill comes only after years of disciplined practice. In the same way, the freedom to grow in godliness––to express Christ's character through your own personality––is in large part dependent on a deliberate cultivation of the spiritual disciplines found in God's Word. Far from being legalistic, restrictive, or binding, as they are often perceived, the spiritual disciplines are actually the means to unparalleled spiritual liberty. So if you'd like to embark on a lifelong quest for godliness, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life will help you on your way. Drawn from a rich heritage left us by godly believers from Christian history––including the Reformers and the Puritan writers, and primarily Jesus Christ Himself––Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life will guide you through a carefully selected array of disciplines including Scripture reading, prayer, worship, Scripture meditation, evangelism, serving, stewardship of time and money, Scripture application, fasting, silence and solitude, journaling, and learning. By illustrating why the disciplines are important, showing how each one will help you grown in godliness, and offering practical suggestions for cultivating them on a long-term basis, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life will provide you with a refreshing opportunity to embrace life's greatest pursuit––the pursuit of holiness-through a lifelong delight in the disciplines.

About the Author

DONALD S. WHITNEY is the associate professor of spiritual formation at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri. He is the best-selling author of Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health, and How Can I Be Sure I’m a Christian? (all NavPress). Don holds a doctor of ministry degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and is completing a doctor of theology degree with specialization in Christian spirituality from the University of South Africa. He is founder and president of the Center for Biblical Spirituality. Don lives in Kansas City, Missouri, with his wife and daughter. Don's website is www.BiblicalSpirituality.org.
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Don Whitney has been Associate Professor of Spiritual Formation (the first such position in the six Southern Baptist seminaries) at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri since 1995.
Don grew up in Osceola, Arkansas, where he came to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He was active in sports throughout high school and college, and worked in the radio station his dad managed. After graduating from Arkansas State University, Don planned to finish law school and pursue a career in sportscasting. While at the University of Arkansas School of Law, he sensed God's call to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He then enrolled at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, graduating with a Master of Divinity degree in 1979. In 1987 he completed a Doctor of Ministry degree at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. Don is currently completing a Doctor of Theology degree in Christian Spirituality at the University of South Africa.
Before coming to Midwestern, Don was pastor of Glenfield Baptist Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois (a Chicago suburb) for almost fifteen years.
He is the author of Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (NavPress, 1991), which has a companion discussion guide. He has also written How Can I Be Sure I'm A Christian (NavPress, 1994), Spiritual Disciplines Within the Church (Moody Press, 1996), Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health (NavPress, 2001), and Simplify Your Spiritual Life (NavPress, 2003).
Don's wife, Caffy, ministers from their home in Kansas City as a women's Bible study teacher, an artist, and a freelance illustrator. The Whitneys are parents of a daughter, Laurelen Christiana.
Don's website address is www.SpiritualDisciplines.org.
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Product Details

  • Series: Pilgrimage Growth Guide
  • Paperback: 266 pages
  • Publisher: NavPress; 1st edition , Unknown priniting. edition (June 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576830276
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576830277
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (127 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tim Challies TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
I almost always carry a journal or notebook with me so I can scribble down thoughts as they come to me during the day. Some of these turn into articles and others turn into devotional material. More often than not I look at them weeks or months later and have absolutely no idea what they mean or what I was thinking when I scribbled them down. Recently I saw a comment in a notebook that did make sense to me. I had written about the difference between my friend Jason and myself when we sit down with a guitar on our laps and a sheet of music in front of us. I can read the music and strum those strings and make nothing but awful, painful sounds that bear little resemblance to music. Jason, on the other hand, can sit down and make music at will, even with no sheet music in front of him. The difference between Jason and myself is not necessarily inate musical ability or the quality of our guitars. The difference is in disciplined practice. Jason has dedicated thousands of hours to honing his skills so that it seems to require little effort to play the music. The freedom to play with this skill has come only at the expense of dedicated, disciplined effort.

Don Whitney uses this same metaphor to show the importance of being disciplined in the pursuit of godliness, for there is freedom in discipline. The freedom to grow in godliness - "to naturally express Christ's character through your own personality - is in large part dependent on a deliberate cultivation of the spiritual disciplines." (From the back cover)

And so this book is an examination of spiritual disciplines - disciplines provided by God which are designed to help us grow in godliness, allowing us to become more and more conformed to the image of Christ.
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Format: Paperback
Donald Whitney is now a professor at a large midwestern seminary but was a local pastor when he wrote this excellent book. I mention that to say this was written out of practical experience and not as some thesis or doctoral work with no bearing on reality.
It is extremely readable, practical and applicable. An individual can read it alone and benefit wonderfully from it, or can also use the book in a discussion book and find it equally rewarding.
The Disciplines are ancient as avenues to express one's Christian life, but for modern audiences Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline was the hearkening call back to their practice. Dallas Willard's book followed several years later called The Spirit of the Disciplines, a "why" and rationale for the Disciplines. Whitney's book is the practical way to incorporate the Disciplines into one's everyday life, to escape the discuss and do nothing mode of many so called believers, and actually change one's life.
I heartily recommend the book. I have used it in training student leaders on the college campus and find its advice timeless yet contemporary.
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In short, this book is a highly concencentrated dosage for strengthening us to "discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness" (1 Tim 4:7). It's well written with good picks of scriptures, stories/sayings from spiritual leaders, and smooth flow of why and how on eleven disciplines. Relatively short with 235 content pages but really heavy in quality. Highly recommended! in particular Chapter Ten Silence and Solitude with the opening story "The Bet" by Anton Checkhov.

Below please find some copy and paste I like most for your reference.

Discipline without direction is drudgery. pg 15
Godly people are disciplined people. It has always been so.... Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin...Charles Spurgeon, George Muller...As "Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17" pg 17
We have not advanced very far in our spiritual livs if we have not encountered the basic paradox of freedom...that we are most free when we are bound...The one who would be an athlete, ut who is unwilling to discipline his body by regular exercise and abstinence, is not free to excel on the field or the track. His failure to train rigorously denies him the freedom to run with the desired speed and endurance...Disicpline is the price of freedom. - Elton Trueblood pg 23
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I cannot help but give this book 5 stars. I have read it once and am currently reading it again. As I page through it and gaze over the applicable lessons, the pointed truths, the relevance to life, the personal illustrations and more, I am driven with desire to conform my life to Jesus all the more! Dr. Whitney is completely without apology in presenting several disciplines that all Christians should follow, backing up each with several Scriptures to demonstrate the authority of what it is he is writing.
I attended Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where Dr. Whitney serves as Professor of Spiritual Formation. He is what he makes himself out to be in his book. He is a humble man, desiring that God be honored and glorified and that men and women grown in Christ-likeness. He is truly one of the most Godly men I have ever met and I am honored and priviliged to have sat under his teaching. God blessed me through him and his teaching tremendously.
Why do I say this? This book is the foundation of everything he teaches, for his desire is indeed Godliness for himself and those he teaches, either in person or in absentia through the books he writes.
If you indeed have desire to grow in Jesus Christ, no matter how long you have been a Christian, my strong recommendation is to buy this book and read it carefully. You indeed will be blessed!!
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