I have really been challenged lately in my lack of discipline in my spiritual life. I have also been surprised at my lack of knowledge in certain parts of this area. I'm not certain why it isn't taught on a regular basis in our churches or ministries, but I really wish it was. Since I knew I needed some extra guidance and study in this area, I was thrilled to see a book specifically on this topic and just for women. It was exactly what I needed to read.
This book wasn't a "make me feel good" book. It was challenging and there were parts of it that I wasn't really looking forward to doing. Like a good exercise program, it's sometimes hard to actually lace up those tennis shoes. If found that same problem was true when it came to spiritual disciplines. It requires time and for those of us who are busy (really...who isn't these days...), we have lost the respect for silence and mediation and contemplation that we need to have to help further deepen our relationship with God. The book really required me to be honest with myself.
I have the ebook version of this book, but I plan on buying the physical copy because I really want to highlight it and study it. I think it would be a great women's ministry tool. Barbara is constantly pointing her readers back to Scripture and what God says. This is also a book I'd love to use to mentor other women. So much changes when our eyes are focused on godliness and growing in holiness.
I received this book free from Crossway in exchange for my honest opinion of this book.
People and books reserve the right to surprise us, and its a real delight when both happen at the same time. I opened the pages of Barbara Hughess book expecting the equivalent of a heart-to-heart over a mug of steaming tea, an open Bible and a warm sharing of practices that have held us close to God throughout full and following lives. This I found, indeed, but behind the words of Disciplines of a Godly Woman beats the fiery heart of an apologist, a defender of truth!
Train yourself for godliness the truth of I Timothy 4:7 is an invitation to enter into a godliness workout. Coupled with the Hebrews 12:1 injunction to throw off impediments, this training process involves practicing and investing energy into the development of habits and attitudes that lead to godliness.
Barbara is careful to differentiate between legalism and discipline with wise words about relationship. Any acts of godliness that I perform, rightly motivated, will arise from a desire to do what pleases God, or, what John Wesley referred to as a zealous obedience. Referring to her readers as gospel women clinches this biblical orientation to grace.
Barbara lifts up the spiritual disciplines that she examines and allows them to catch the light like multiple facets of a single jewel. The focus of discipline impacts all the roles that we assume in fulfilling the assignments that God gives, each diverse, each unique and performed with love.
Anyone who has logged in a few years in a pew has heard or read pages of important words about the disciplines of prayer, Bible study, and worship. For those who have not, Disciplines of a Godly Woman is an extremely helpful primer, but the text moves on to the pondering of deep things of God in these important areas of basic training. No matter how long one has believingly followed Christ, there is always a need for growth, perseverance, and the bending of the will to Gods will.
Viewed as disciplines in my training toward godliness, issues such as contentment, propriety, nurturing, good deeds, witnessing, and giving become more than simply items on a never-ending checklist. They are exercises that build my understanding and my embrace of my role as a countercultural woman who understands that the words of Jesus identifying the Holy Spirit as helper have forever elevated the position of the one who assists.
Barbara brooks no excuses and holds high the standard of obedience. In her discussion of the call to marriage versus singleness, she says, Maybe this sounds unpleasant to you. Obedience often feels that way initially. My ear detects the crisp tones of Elisabeth Elliots no-nonsense teaching ministry. However, love is held up as the motivation for all good deeds, and may, in the end, have to be put on (in Colossians 3 parlance) as an act of the will deliberately and one sleeve at a time.
With gentle assistance toward personal worship and reading of the Word in multiple appendices, Barbara puts an arm around her readers while affirming the truth that a relationship with God requires effort. Even so, there is no contradiction between grace and hard work. Grace says:
I will act in obedience because of my love for God . . . not to earn His love for me.
I will follow the teaching of Gods Word because I am in relationship with its Author . . . not because I fear losing that relationship.
I will persevere in the disciplines of the Christian life because I am held in a hope that is based on strong promises . . . not because I am hoping that the disciplines themselves will hold me in the faith.
Gospel women know this, of course, but we do need a reminder now and then, and sweet reassurance that we are not on this journey alone.
Thank you, Barbara.
This book was provided by Crossway in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
I have thoroughly enjoyed (and been convicted!) by this book. It is well-written and covers all the areas that we should desire to be growing in. It is helpful for young moms to set the goal right from the start but it's still helpful for me with children who are just starting to leave the nest. I bought 2 copies at Christmas for my 2 friends that I know desire to grow in Christ and they both have had nothing but positive feedback. I think it's a must have for any woman desiring to grow in godliness but absolutely essential for all women who are getting married. I just cannot say enough about this wonderful book. :)
Disciplines of a Godly Woman was a recommendation from a personal Godly mentor, and now is a daily blessing which I'm thankful for that I took the recommendation. Although it's not laid out in a 'daily' fashion, I portion it to what I can read during my devotion time each morning. It's organized well with useful themes/chapters with verses, thoughts and questions to ponder at each chapter's end.
What an amazing book! My very sincere thanks and appreciation to Barbara for writing this. Every page shed new light on something I thought I had known for years. Turns out, when you are really honest with yourself and ask the questions Barbara poses at the end of each chapter, we haven't even scratched the surface. Read this book along with 10+ ladies in our church, and over breakfast last Saturday we cried, and laughed and strengthened each other through all the things we have learned. We are holding each other accountable to be Godly women. Praise God for Barbara and the inspiration He gave her to write for all of us.