“A Guide To The Spiritual Disciplines” 12 Habits to Strengthen Your Walk With Christ.
Most of us who are sports fans have heard the story of the famous Vince Lombardi annual preseason speech. Football in hand, Lombardi walked to the front of the room, took several seconds to look over the assemblage in silence, held out the pigskin in front of him, and said, “Gentlemen, this is a football.” In only five words, Lombardi communicated his point: We’re going to start with the basics and make sure we’re executing all the fundamentals. Similarly, if you’ve heard that one, you’ve probably also heard the story from famed Coach Wooden. The first day of practice at UCLA was always a day full of anticipation and excitement as the new recruits awaited the arrival of Coach Wooden, known affectionately as the Wizard of Westwood. As they waited, each wondered what secrets of the game, what strategies for winning would spring forth from the famous coach on Day One. “Please take off your shoes and socks,” Coach announced to the team, seating himself upon a locker room bench. “I’m going to show you the proper way to put them back on.”
What do these stories have to do with this book on Spiritual Disciplines you might ask? What I love about these stories is the same thing I love about this book; it reminds us of the importance of going back to the basics in order to be successful. Far too often, especially in our walks as Christian leaders, we are too quick to look for the next great book or the next great idea of how to grow as a leader or how to achieve the next big goal. The truth is if most of us would remember to just go back to the basics and master those, we would be more successful then we could possibly imagine.
The book itself is simple to read and comes across like you are having a weekly cup of coffee with a spiritual mentor who genuinely loves you and wants to share his own personally journey in each area including his victories and failures. It is composed of 12 habits of what Morley would say are essential to your walk though other writers I am sure would add others and omit some he included. Prayer, Fasting, Stewardship and Service are just a few of the staples of the walk he covers along with 8 others. What I found most interesting about his approach to his list was how he grouped them together in 4 categories which helped to sort of bring the list alive a little more for me. Those categories were; The Works of God, The Word of God, the Whisper of God and finally the Witness for God. Each category has anywhere from 1 to 7 of the 12 habits he covers.
Of course all the habits are important and useful for growth and success. If we are honest with ourselves, we could all work any one of them for months or even years and still find ourselves in need of more practice on just that one at the end of the day. This would certainly be very true of me for sure. Personally, I was reminded of several disciplines or habits that I need to refocus my attention on in order to grow in my journey as a Christian Leader right now. Last year, I am proud to say, that my family and I and my team at work all intentionally spent time focusing on the habit of prayer and even started our year with a weeklong fast with a focus on prayer for the upcoming year. As I read this book and as I looked back at this year and our plan for the goals we have for 2017, I realized that we could benefit even more by adding an intentional focus on the discipline of memorizing scripture as we fast and pray together for the year.
Perhaps you find yourself struggling with how things are progressing at work or maybe even at home. Or perhaps you just find yourself in a spiritual rut right now. Or maybe everything is great right now. Either way, my recommendation would be for you to pick up this book, pick out a couple habits that God speaks to you about and get back to the basics. I guarantee you that you will be inspired and equipped in whole new ways.
By Patrick Morley. A Book Summary by Marcus White.