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Monday, February 20, 2012

"Disciplines of a Godly Young Man"

TITLE: Disciplines of a Godly Young Man
AUTHOR: R. Kent Hughes and Carey Hughes
PUBLISHER: Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012, (192 pages).

This book may be addressed to young man explicitly, but it implicitly applies to all believers in Christ. Using 'discipline' as the main operative word throughout the book, the author's conviction is that without discipline, one cannot grow up to be the mature man in God. Beginning with stories of mainly famous sports persons, the authors continuously hum the chorus:

"No manliness, no maturity! No discipline, no discipleship! No groans, no growth! No training, no triumph!" (22)

Written in 5 sections, the authors attempt to instil the need for discipline in relationships, in the soul, in character, in ministry and in grace. In relationships, one needs to rein in one's weakness to temptations, and at the same time strengthen one's resolve to pursue purity in God. At the same time, one cannot live a solitary life, but to develop deep friendships. Relationships are key to maturity in community.  Then there is the discipline of soul which talks about one's mental discipline and spiritual devotions. This section on SOUL is perhaps the strongest part of the book.

The third section deals with the personal development of character. By controlling the tongue and to use it wisely, one builds up the discipline to manage the rudder of one's life. Characted building can also be in terms of work. The authors give a really concise overview of the theology of work, followed by a need to cultivate perseverance.

The fourth section deals with Church in terms of Church life, giving, witnessing, and serving. The last section ties everything together by softening the stance on any tendency to make 'discipline' legalistic. Grace is the word.

My Thoughts

Reading this book reminds me of Paul's instructions to Titus about young men.
"Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled." (Titus 2:6)

In that short letter, Paul has one of the shortest instructions for the young men in the Church. Self-Controlled. I see 'discipline' as a way in which Titus 2:6 can be practised. This book certainly goes wide in terms of reaching out to young men in very important spheres of their lives. There is something for the relational young man. There are many good ideas to cultivate the mental prowess. There are great stories regarding the building of character. There is also the responsibility to be a part of Church through serving, giving, and regular attendance. All in all, though the book is targeted at young men, it can benefit a wider audience. In fact, if all young men can read this book, and apply the suggestions in it, our future is bright. Our nations will be swarming with future leaders who will be strong, faithful, and will honour to home, to country, and to God.

The best way to use this book is to read it together with a group, or another person. Teach it in a young adult class, or read it as a group. Discuss it with a friend, a mentor or your pastor. Otherwise, it is easy for young men to be distracted. Due to the demands in this book, reading it will require a discipline in itself. Beware. This book is not for the weak and faint-hearted. It is for those who want to grow up to be godly and mature in God.

Maybe, for those of us who are older, and have missed out on the disciplines when we were younger, it is never too late to begin. This book may also be used to cultivate the inner man in us, regardless of how old is our outer man.
Rating: 4.5 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me free by Crossway Books and NetGalley without any obligation for a positive review. All comments provided are offered freely.

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