Book Review: Disciplines of a Godly Man

Author: R. Kent Hughes

Reviewed by Mike Budler

Disciplines of a Godly Man (Paperback Edition)This is the fourth time I have opened the cover of R. Kent Hughes’ ”Disciplines of a Godly Man” which is published by Crossway Books.  It is an excellent book – I first worked through it when serving as a Chaplain for a University level Basketball team in Chicago.  God used this book to see one of the players make a profession of faith, while the rest of the team was challenged and encouraged to deepen their faith through practicing the spiritual disciplines as outlined by Hughes.  While on staff with CBD, I often recommended this book to men who were looking for such a book.

Some people have voiced concern that a book of the Spiritual Disciplines could become “legalistic” or lend itself to a works-based sanctification process.  Hughes wisely answers this possible concern in the right spot – the introduction – as he writes:

The difference between discipline and legalism is one of motivation: legalism is self-centered; discipline is God-centered.  The legalistic heart says, “I will do this thing to gain merit with God.”  The disciplined heart says, “I will do this thing because I love God and want to please Him.”  There is an infinite difference between the motivation of legalism and discipline!  (page 15)

The book is laid out in four sections: Discipline of Relationships, Discipline of the Soul, Discipline of one’s Character, and Discipline of Ministry.  Each of these sections is further broken down in the following manner:

  • Relationships including purity, marriage, fatherhood, and friendship
  • The Soul including the mind, devotion, prayer, and worship
  • Our character including integrity, speech, work, and perseverance
  • Ministry including church, leadership, giving, and witness

And just to make sure his readers remember the difference between the proper carrying out of the disciplines versus legalism, Hughes closes this book with an entire chapter about these disciplines as chapter 19 is entitled the “Grace of Discipline.”  He reminds his readers that not only is salvation by grace alone, so too is the sanctification process carried out by the grace of God.

Do all of these disciplines seem overwhelming to you?  Hughes accurately encourages his readers to prioritize as no one can carry out all of these disciplines at the same time.  He also wants his readers to be realistic and to pray, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide each man where he should focus on improving on one’s disciplines for growth in his faith.  For years, I have had an accountability partner – that also is a good way to have victory in the disciplines.

To summarize, Hughes wants us men to take “baby steps” and to remember that God’s grace is sufficient when we stumble.

CBD PRICE: R235.00 (paperback)

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