Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Reading Notes: Disciplines of a Gody Man, Chapters 6-9, by R. Kent Hughes

Chapter 6 - Discipline of Mind
  • Christians are called to the renewal of their minds, e.g., "But we have the mind of Christ" (1 Cor. 2:16 & Rom. 12:2).
  • God uses "means" to accomplish this. We should not despise the "means" that God uses. Specifically, Phil. 4:8--Whatsoever is true/noble/right/pure/lovely/admirable/excellent/praise-worthy . . . think about such things.
  • The author suggest focusing your mind on such things by leveraging 1) Scripture and 2) Christian Literature.
  • The thing to beware of when applying Phil 4:8 is Legalism. Don't be a prude and don't stick your head in the sand like an ostrich. Phil. 4:8 is applied to your life by doing more than merely controlling what you focus on. You discipline yourself regarding what you focus on and how you focus.
  • Christians need to know how to Discern and Decide. This is wisdom. Know how to interrogate and analyze current events, your local community, a movie, a novel, the facts of your own life, etc.
  • What you focus on, and How you focus, exercising Discernment and Decision-making, etc., all of this requires Disciplining our Minds.
I am aware of the wise warnings against using words like "all," "every," and "always" in what I say. Absolutizing one's pronouncements is dangerous. But I'm going to do it anyway. Here it is: It is impossible for any Christian who spends the bulk of his evenings, month after month, week upon week, day in and day out watching the major TV networks or contemporary videos to have a Christian mind. This is always true of all Christians in every situation. A Biblical mental program cannot coexists with worldly programming. . . . Not watching TV will liberate so much time, it will become virtually impossible not to become a deeper person and a better Christian. . . . I am not suggesting a new legalism which forbids TV and the cinema. . . . But I am calling for believers to take control of their minds--what comes in and what goes out (p. 75).
You can never have a Christian mind without reading the Scriptures regularly because you cannot be profoundly influenced by that which you do not know (p. 77). 
Chapter 7 - Discipline of Devotion
  • Devotion begins with listening. Devotion is meditation that listens to God's Word.
  • Regarding Scripture: Like the righteous man that Psalm 1 describes -- "Murmor it. Memorize it. Pray it. Say it. Share it" (p. 86).
  • Where the rubber meets the road: "How much time do you generally spend in conversation with God?" (p. 93)
Chapter 8 - Discipline of Prayer
  • Praying "in the Spirit" occurs through the indwelling Holy Ghost, see Rom. 8:26-27.
  • Convicting questions -- Have you learned the discipline of continual/persistent prayer? Do you have tenacity and persistence in praying for your family? For your church? Do you have a written prayer list for use during disciplined prayer?
  • The following quote is a modest but excellent goal -- the author recommends:
Better to commit yourself to a total of fifteen minutes and maintain it--with perhaps five minutes of Bible reading, five minutes of meditation, and five minutes of disciplined prayer. A regular time of devotion and prayer will become a habit, and the habit of prayer will give wings to your spiritual life (p. 105).

Chapter 9 - Discipline of Worship
  • The author highlights the meaning and importance of worship.
  • See page 111 for a survey of worship in the Bible.
  • Worship is to be God-centered.
  • Worship is the priority of man's life, e.g., What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
  • The author says that worship takes discipline. "Many Christians have never though through the meaning and importance of worship" (p. 100).
  • The author provides practical direction for prayer/preparation on Saturday evening, as well as on Sunday morning, for Lord's Day Worship (see pages 118-119). God uses these spiritual disciplines to prepare us to worship God "in spirit and in truth."
There is no getting around it: worship requires discipline. We are to worship God "in spirit and in truth," and this is impossible without discipline. We must discipline ourselves to know God's truth so we can worship Him in truth. We must discipline our human spirit, so that authentic affections pour in spirit from our hearts to God. We must discipline ourselves in preparation for corporate worship, and that does not begin with the thirty seconds after we have breathlessly sat down (p. 118).

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