If I could recommend just one book (other than the Bible) to read this year, I would probably choose “Habits of Grace” by David Mathis. In fact, I have already recommended it quite a bit. Many LifeGroups at Brookstone are planning to make use of this book in 2019.
The idea of “habit” is really fascinating AND hopeful to me. Just as bad habits are wielding their influence in our lives, so too can the good habits. Consider this:
"Your habits are, in fact, one of the most important things about you. Those repeated actions you take over and over, almost mindlessly, reveal your true self over time as much as anything else. Our habits are windows into the deep things of our souls. “Character,” Michael Horton says, “is largely a bundle of habits.” Take a careful assessment of any person’s habits, and soon you can tell, with little margin for error, what really captures his heart.
But our habits not only show our hearts, but shape them as well. We’re always reinforcing habits or forming new ones. If Jesus truly is our Lord, Savior, and the greatest treasure of our lives, we’ll desperately want to have Him reflected in the habits of our lives. And we’ll find it well worth the effort and energy to cultivate a modest new habit or two toward making Him increasingly to be our greatest joy.”
(David Mathis-“Habits of Grace”)
They show our hearts AND they shape our hearts. That’s really the essence of the Christian Life!
I love the simplicity and the substance of the book. It’s not the overwhelming and exhausting “spiritual discipline” books that you may be familiar with. Sometimes it’s easy to read those, and then a month later be discouraged and worn out by it all.
Mathis sets out to give the reader a simple and “enjoyable” overview of the Spiritual Disciplines (i.e. Habits of Grace). He compares these habits to positioning ourselves, much like Zacchaeus, along the path that Jesus is walking, expecting an encounter with Him. Mathis reminds us that these habits are the “ancient paths” that followers of Jesus have walked for thousands of years now. It’s on these paths that we typically encounter the grace of God in our daily lives. The habits themselves are the “means of grace” in our lives.
He breaks down the habits into 3 helpful categories:
“Hear His Voice” (Reading, Memorizing, Meditating on God’s Word, etc)
“Have His Ear” (Praying, Fasting, Journaling, etc)
“Belong to His Body” (Fellowship, Corporate Worship, Ordinances, etc)
I encourage you to grab a copy in 2019 (https://www.desiringgod.org/books/habits-of-grace) and join up with some other believers and pursue Jesus together as we practice these habits in our lives.
If you need help finding a group, please let us know here:
www.brookstonechurch.com/groups (Find a Lifegroup)