Habits for Our Holiness: How the Spiritual Disciplines Grow Us Up, Draw Us Together, and Send Us Out
Habits for Our Holiness: How the Spiritual Disciplines Grow Us Up, Draw Us Together, and Send Us Out  -     By: Philip Nation
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Habits for Our Holiness: How the Spiritual Disciplines Grow Us Up, Draw Us Together, and Send Us Out

Moody Publishers / 2016 / Paperback

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Product Information

Format: Paperback
Vendor: Moody Publishers
Publication Date: 2016
ISBN: 080241348X
ISBN-13: 9780802413482

Publisher's Description

Not your typical spiritual disciplines book

Most books on the spiritual disciplines follow the same pattern: introduce the discipline, prove it from Scripture, and give tips for how to do it.

Habits for our Holiness does more than that: It connects the disciplines to all of life. By showing how the disciplines have their greatest power when practiced in community and on mission, Philip Nation gives Christians a bigger reason—and greater desire—to pursue spiritual disciplines. He also warns us of what happens when we neglect them.

With plenty of examples, stories, and illustrations, Habits for our Holiness will inspire you to nourish your life with discipline, enjoy the fruit of godliness, and have a hand in building the church.

Author Bio

DR. PHILIP NATION is the Director of Content Development with the Resources Division of LifeWay Christian Resources. He is also the Teaching Pastor for The Fellowship and Assistant Professor of Leadership and Biblical Studies for Houston Baptist University. He holds a Master of Divinity from Beeson Divinity School and Doctor of Ministry from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Philip is a frequent speaker in churches and conferences. From 2010 to 2012 he served as the national spokesperson for the "National Back to Church Sunday" campaign for Outreach, Inc. Philip and his wife, Angie, make their home in Tennessee with their two sons, Andrew and Chris.

Editorial Reviews

"Really enjoyed this fresh look at spiritual formation and the spiritual disciplines. Useful research for me: read it just before teaching a class on Spiritual Formation for Leaders."

Reviewed by Rose Smith on NetGalley, Feb 23, 2016

"I found Philip Nation's Habits for Our Holiness to be a thought-provoking, remarkable read. I knew it was a book about the spiritual disciplines. So I thought I knew the kind of book it would be: read your Bible daily, pray daily, praise God daily, go to church, give your money and time to the church, if you've got kids, raise them well, be kind to your neighbors and coworkers, be active in your community, etc.

I did not expect it to be both inspiring--encouraging--and challenging--penetrating. For example, here's a question from the introduction: 'What are we doing to participate in God's process of teaching others how to love Him?'

Other 'wow' sentences for me:

'The king of the universe has a deeper desire to redeem people than we can begin to imagine. Amazingly, He invites us into the work. When we love Him deeply, He will form us to mirror his heart; and He has a missionary heart.'

'When the truth lays hold of our souls, we should feel the compulsion to share it....The world should benefit from our spiritual growth.'

'You've never accidentally met anyone. Instead, God--being God--organizes your life so that you can have an effect on every person you meet.'

The approach to this 'spiritual disciplines' book is different and refreshing. It ties all the spiritual disciplines together. This is evident from the start by how he defines the term 'spiritual discipline': 'A spiritual discipline is a mental and physical act and a habit that expresses our love for God and fosters a greater display of His glory in our lives and a deeper understanding of His character and agenda.'

As you might expect, however, it does talk a lot about the Bible, about worship, about prayer, about service, about HOW to live life in a way that pursues holiness, our sanctification. He ties each chapter, each discipline, back to the world: how does that discipline impact our mission--the great commission. Every chapter it seems is about evangelism, about sharing the gospel with a world that desperately needs to hear the good news--the GREAT NEWS--that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.

For example, 'Each discipline can be used for God to form you into the likeness of Christ. Through the spiritual disciplines we are seeking to serve as He served, pray as He prayed, and submit as He submitted. The disciplines can increase our intimacy with God so that we can work to extend His reign in the lives of those around us./

Quotes about 'the big three' the foundational spiritual disciplines.

Worship: 'Worship is the intimate encounter that morals have with our immortal God.'

The Bible: 'As we encounter God in the pages of the Bible, it should drive us to introduce the rest of the world to Him.'

Prayer: 'Poetically prayer is our response to the echoes of Eden where we long to walk with God in the cool of the day. To state it as simply as possible, prayer is two-way communication that is initiated by His love.'

Other disciplines discussed in the book:




simplicity (contentment)

servanthood (service, stewardship)




I would recommend this book to EVERYONE. It is thorough and thought-provoking. It is challenging and encouraging. It is about LOVE and GRACE and sharing that love and grace with the world. It is the first spiritual disciplines book that I've read that focuses OUTWARD, not merely inward."

Reviewed by Becky Laney on NetGalley, Mar 5, 2016

"When I read non-fiction, more often than not, I will only read one chapter a day so that I can ingest and digest the information given. For a book like Habits for Our Holiness, that was a necessary strategy. Learning how others have come before me and walked the walk of faith always aids my own walk. My first tour through the Christian disciplines is Donald Whitney's Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Both of these books offer quite the same information, but both of the books are worth reading more than once.

When I was a student getting my degree in education, one of the things we learned is how we learned--we could be visual learners (I am), auditory learners, or kinetic learners, or any combination of all of the above. In fact, we all have some degree of all three learning styles in us. I could take notes in a class and bring the notes back up in my mind when I was taking a test and read until I got to the answer I needed. Making things stick in our minds is easier when we take our own notes and read them in our own handwriting, or we read them aloud in our own voices, or we act it out with our own bodies. This in and of itself is why it's good to read the same kinds of information with more than one author.

So here's what I brought away from the chapter on Bible Study: We have to question each passage of scripture--it's like asking the teacher to explain something we don't understand.

1. How does this passage reveal God's character?

2. How does this passage reveal God's redemptive plan?

3. How did the passage apply to the original hearers? 4. How does this truth affect my relationship with Christ? 5. In what ways do I rebel against the truth in the passage? 6. What is the impact of the passage on the church?

Philip Nation has brought the disciplines together in an extremely readable way, understandable by any student of the Christian life. This is a five star book worth reading, meditating on, and digesting, simply to understand God and His word better.

My thanks to Moody Publishers for allowing me to read and review this book."

Reviewed by Becky Guinn on NetGalley, Mar 27, 2016

Product Reviews

5 Stars Out Of 5
5 out of 5
4.1 out Of 5
(4.1 out of 5)
4.1 out Of 5
(4.1 out of 5)
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Displaying items 1-5 of 7
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  1. contemplativereflections
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Book Review: Habits for Our Holiness
    February 14, 2018
    Quality: 0
    Value: 0
    Meets Expectations: 0
    In "Habits for Our Holiness," Philip Nation highlights how the practice of spiritual disciplines need to be inflamed by a love for God and His people. Furthermore, Nation argues that none of the spiritual disciplines are beneficial if undertaken in a self-seeking or unloving manner as this defeats the entire purpose of growing in holiness. The author focuses on several different disciplines including solitude, prayer, and fasting while also discussing lesser considered aspects such as leadership, submission, and simple living. The book does not aim to be comprehensive in outlining the numerous approaches to developing a spiritual habit but instead links the different disciplines under the unifying thread of God's love which we receive and extend outward into our communities. Nation believes that growing in spiritual maturity is not cultivating one's own holiness in a vacuum but to express the abundance of God's grace and love through our interactions with others. Thus, the disciplines are never to be practiced in isolation but should be ultimately displayed at home, church, and community. Throughout the chapters, the author is careful to offer practical advice without establishing rules that one needs to follow rigidly. In doing so, everyone is free to adjust these habits to fit into their circumstances while understanding that it does take careful effort and perseverance to grow in holiness.

    I would recommend this book to anyone seeking to grow in greater love for God and others. Despite the negative connotations we may have regarding the spiritual disciplines, we are confronted with the many commands and exhortations in the Bible emphasizing the pursuit of holiness as God's requirement for all His people. What motivates us to grow in spiritual maturity is the love we receive in Christ's sacrifice on the cross by which He purchased His Bride with His own blood. Moreover, His Spirit is within us to guide and strengthen us to mature together and be sent out to minister to unbelievers around us. Every spiritual discipline is not intended merely for personal edification but to display God's radiant glory as shown through His Son.

    In compliance with Federal Trade Commission guidelines, I received a review copy from Moody Press in exchange for a book review.
  2. Johnny
    Lafayette, TN
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: Male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A Different Look at the Diciplines
    February 11, 2018
    Lafayette, TN
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: Male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I will never forget how one of my favorite books on spiritual disciplines, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life written by Donald Whitney, begins with the story of a young boy who is transported by an angel to Carnegie Hall where he is allowed to observe a future view of himself. In this future view, he effortlessly plays the guitar with great precision only to be told that that could be him if only he would practice. In the words of Donald Whitney, Discipline without direction is drudgery.

    Philip Nation, author of Habits for our Holiness: How the Spiritual Disciplines Grow Us Up, Draw Us Together, and Send us Out, published by Moody Press, goes even a step further in his book on these disciplines in that he concludes that they are not just to make us holy, but also to make us ready for His mission. Spiritual disciplines, according to Nation, dont just allow us to have greater intimacy with God, but they have a missional purpose in them where they make an impact in the lives of the people we encounter. I love how he makes that next step in this book showing us how to make it missional. I dont recall seeing that in other books on discipline that I have encountered. The author is also very intentional to show in his book that love is the key. His first chapter is all about this. He wants us to love Him for Who He is and for our lives to reflect that love. That theme of love is strung all throughout his book. This is definitely more than a book of a list of things that we must do as Christians.

    One of the characteristics that I believe makes this book on disciplines unique is the fact that it first gives you instruction concerning tackling a specific discipline alone; then it gives you instruction on how to do it with others. He shows how togetherness brings a whole new dimension to the discipline.

    Another characteristic of this book that I appreciated is how the author takes each discipline and shows how bringing this into your life would cause you to rely on God. He shows you where your idols are. He shows you how these disciplines cause you to trust God, trust His goodness, trust His sufficiency, and trust His love.

    I believe that the chapter on fasting may just be worth the whole book. Nations does a tremendous job of helping you understand the discipline and the true motivation behind it. I found his words very convicting and convincing that this is something that I need in my life now. I will be pulling this book back off of the shelf just to reread this section of the book.

    I appreciated how he ends the book talking about the discipline of leadership and disciple making. As his subtitle suggests, these disciplines are not just meant to grow us up but send us out. At the end of the book he said, It is time for you to live out the spiritual disciplines with love as the centerpiece and mission as the result. Love and mission. That is one of the reasons I recommend this book.

    This book is not your typical book on spiritual discipline. If you have read the classics like Foster and Whitney, you will appreciate Nations fresh take. I truly do recommend it for your consideration.

    I received a copy of this book for an honest review.
  3. Treenz
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Excellent for new believers - great info for all
    November 5, 2016
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This is a very well put together book - simplistic in nature, and easy to read. I was excited to find a book on holiness as that topic doesn't come up a lot these days and yet it is so vital to our walk with God. I also noted that Christine Caine endorsed the book at the beginning also.

    What Philip does is take you through different practices, like disciplines of faith. The different disciplines covered are: worship, Bible study, Prayer, fasting, fellowship, rest, simple living, servanthood, submission, spiritual leadership and disciple making. Each of these is a chapter. It has lots of subtitles throughout, which add to the readability.

    This book would be a great book for a new believer, in fact an important book, because this information will make all the difference to their experience with Jesus. It's relevant, unlike many of the older mystical books on holiness, which makes it more user friendly.

    A must read for all Christians in my opinion! Definitely recommend!

    Please note that I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my review, however the opinions expressed are entirely my own.
  4. HeidiMarie
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Everyone must read
    May 23, 2016
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This is a book about living out the spiritual disciplines. Philip Nation not only went into depth in explaining the disciplines, but also gave advice and instruction in how to live out those disciplines.

    Nation gives all kinds of insight on everyday things that we should be doing and thinking about, such as various kinds of prayer, worship, and service. He also dedicated a chapter to fasting, which is something I have never learned about elsewhere, and I found that to be very interesting. He mentioned that all of these disciplines, while very personal, do not necessarily have to be private. For each discipline, he gave examples and instruction for both individuals and groups.

    Having never studied spiritual disciplines before, this book was really helpful and eye opening for me. Also, Nation writes with such a friendly voice, which makes reading, understanding, and relating to what he was saying much easier.

    The physical book itself is really nice. It's normal paperback size and is of good quality. It's a pretty short book, I read it in just a day, but it is full of great information.

    I gave this book 5/5 stars and it is something that I definitely recommend to anyone who would like to learn more about the spiritual disciplines or Godly living.

    *I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
  5. Michele Morin
    Warren, Maine
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Beginners All Our Life
    May 10, 2016
    Michele Morin
    Warren, Maine
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    The rhubarb has made its wrinkled and deep green appearance, and its time for me to plant the peas, the annual spring gamble for this risk-averse gardener. Ive driven stakes into the warming soil, because when I opened the package, I realized (too late!) that I had purchased seeds for a variety that requires a supporting structure for its vines. Since this is what the seeds promise, this is what will most certainly grow. After twenty-six years of spring plantings and fall harvests, this is no surprise to me, and yet its strange that there are days when I plant discontentment, impatience, and faithless talk, dark seeds into the soil of my heart, and then watch in hope for the peaceable fruit of righteousness to appear like spring violets.

    Philip Nation makes this wise statement in the introduction to Habits for Our Holiness:

    The things we plant in our lives are the things that grow in our lives.

    Spiritual disciplines, then, are part of our planting, a means to the desired end of a mature faith. Not an end in themselves, they are (to veer abruptly into another metaphor) tools in Gods hands for molding the believer. What prevents the practice of spiritual disciplines from becoming stuffy and legalistic is love, for as the central discipline of the Christian life, love is what propels habitual holiness . . . Internal transformation manifests itself in external action. It doesnt work the other way around. Habits for Our Holiness is an invitation to begin again in this life of obedience to and love for Christs commands. Thomas Merton said:

    We do not want to be beginners, but let us be convinced of the fact that we will never be anything else but beginners all our life.

    With that in mind, Philip Nation presents the disciplines of worship, Bible study, and prayer as the foundation by which we declare that God owns our hearts, that we will resist temptation, cynicism, and passiveness through immersion in Scripture, and that we will take delight in the Great Conversation, the my-life-for-yours of intercessory prayer, the mystery of approaching the throne of God.

    The spiritual practice of fasting provides an interruption to our lives that reveals a deeper hunger for something that is eternal. For establishing God-centered living, for a revelation of what truly controls us, and for confirmation of our dependence on God, fasting forces us to acknowledge what we love the most.

    Fellowship is not typically included in a list of spiritual disciplines, but its interlocking mechanism of face-to-face togetherness (like Legos!) is simple but effective. By allowing one another deeply into our lives, we experience a sort of growth that will not occur in the safety of solitude.

    The practice of rest (or Sabbath) is a physical expression of a spiritual reality: the work for our salvation has been accomplished by Jesus. Furthermore, the book of Hebrews offers insight into the deeper significance of an eternal reality the ultimate satisfaction and heavenly rest of which our single day is merely a shadow.

    Simple living is actually a lived-out choice of contentment over craving. Philip zeroes in on stewardship, a well-known biblical attitude toward possessions, and introduces shunning as a path to simplicity: avoiding those objects, thoughts, and even places that remove us from God.

    Philip Nation helps his readers to understand servanthood, the ministry of the mundane, via the juxtaposition of two New Testament bowls of water: (1) Jesus attitude toward service as holy privilege when He washed the disciples feet in the upper room; (2) Pilates hand-washing refusal to enter into the messiness of Jesus situation. Of course, the only acceptable motive for entering into anothers mess is the love of Jesus.

    From Jesus example, we learn true submission, and we understand that it occurs in the context of relationship (practiced even within the Trinity). From the agony of Jesus garden prayer, we learn the lesson that comes as no surprise: submission is hard.

    The introduction of spiritual leadership and disciple-making as habits for our holiness sets Philip Nations book apart from other books on spiritual disciplines* that I have read this year, for it is not only for the purpose of growing up that God has given us the means of grace to come into relationship with Him. It is also because He intends for us to be drawn together and then sent out into bold, others-centered obedience that results in a public faith and a Great Commission life style. Not only are the disciplines not a solitary all-about-me affair, they are also best viewed in relationship to one another. I counted at least six instances in which Philip Nation prefaced a description of one of the habits for holiness with the phrase, As with all the spiritual disciplines . . . From this insight, we see that all of the disciplines:

    are intended to express our love to God and experience His love for us.

    involve truth, the gospel, and Gods character at work within us.

    are intended to keep us from a mediocre expression of faith.

    find fullest expression when practiced in community.

    require intentionality.

    reflect an ethic that the lost will thoroughly question, which brings us full circle, back to my seed planting, for not only do the spiritual disciplines encourage plantings of righteousness in our own lives. Their presence in the life of a believer is salty and bright and leads to the all-important why which opens the door to spiritual conversations, deeper relationships, and a public faith that is lived with love as the centerpiece.


    This book was provided Moody Publishers 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.
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