Perhaps one of my favorite books from my college years was Donald S. Whitney’s Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. In it, Whitney proclaims that instead of being constricting and binding Spiritual Disciplines lead to freedom and Holiness in our pursuit of God. There was a phrase in his book that really challenged me as a young lad, “Godly People are Disciplined People.” If you are blessed by God to be naturally disciplined you probably love that statement. You probably also from time to time struggle with judging others who are not as disciplined as you if you have not used your natural self-discipline to “discipline yourself for the purpose of Godliness.” as the apostle Paul commands us to in 1 Timothy 4. If on the other hand, you are heading on the path to “living in a van, down by the river.” as it were, you might not like that phrase so much. I myself did not enjoy it when I first heard it. I kind of like to take life as it comes. I have realized though that taking the time to plan for instance, allows me the freedom to change if something should come up. Whereas when I don’t plan I don’t have the freedom to change the plan, at least not with the peace that everything important is being taken care of.
Let me put Whitney’s paragraph in here because he says it even stronger.
“Godly people are disciplined people. It has always been so. Call to mind some heroes of church history – Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Bunyan, Susanna Wesley, George Whitefield, Lady Huntington, Jonathan and Sarah Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, George Muller – they were all disciplined people. In my own pastoral and personal Christian experience, I can say that I’ve never known a man or woman who come to spiritual maturity except through discipline. Godliness comes through discipline.”
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the above quote. Especially if you disagree with what he says.
Whitney talks about how Bible Intake, Prayer, Worship, Evangelism, Service, Stewardship, Fasting, Silence and Solitude, Journaling and Learning can all be used of the Lord for our sanctification. While the list is not complete it does get to the core of how God has worked in many people’s lives over the course of history.
For the rest of the month of March the Audio version of this book is available as a free download from ChristianAudio.com. Go to http://christianaudio.com/product_info.php?products_id=833 and use MAR2009 as the coupon code and you’ll get the audio for free. If it’s after March 2009 when you read this page it’s always worth the cost of the book on Amazon. Even though I have read it through a number of times over the years when I just picked it back up to find the quote I was excited to read it again and be challenged anew to pursue the Lord for the purpose of Godliness.