Early on in college, I was encouraged to read Disciplines of a Godly Man by Kent Hughes. Obviously, being in the top ten, I don't have to tell you how much this book has impacted me. I read it with a group of other college guys, and it seemed like every week as we talked about the chapters, the Lord was working in an amazing way.
His point in this book is that we need to be disciplined. Men need to be disciplined. But not just any sort of discipline, spiritually disciplined! He says, "When one seriously trains, he willingly undergoes hours of discipline and even pain so as to win the prize--running 10,000 miles to run 100 yards at one's best. The successful Christian life is a sweaty affair! No manliness no maturity! No discipline no discipleship! No sweat no sainthood!" (17).
There were two chapters that impacted me immediately as I read them. In his chapter on "Discipline of Purity" I was convicted and taught all at the same time. I understood his emphasis on the need for moral purity. He used the example of King David and his interaction with Bathsheba to drive the hammer home on my life. "We must understand that a progressive desensitization to sin and a consequent inner descent from holiness had taken root in David's life" (25). It was the little things that would take me down. It was simple advice, but humbling advice. I still think of these words today when I find myself in situations with women who do not dress appropriately: "If their dress or demeanor is distracting, look them in the eyes, and nowhere else, and get away as quickly as you can!" (32).
The other chapter that impacted me was chapter 6: "Discipline of Mind." He says, "The Scriptures tell us rightly that input determines output--that our programming determines production" (72). While I have never truly followed his advice to stop watching television, I do try to fill my mind with more godly things that secular things. I try to fill my mind with the Scriptures, but also good Christian literature. In reality, this list of 31 books is a direct result of this chapter. I really used to not like to read. But since reading this chapter and being convicted by what he said, I spend more time reading than almost anything else in life.
Men, this book will change the way you think about spiritual discipline in your life. I can't imagine life without having been influenced by what Hughes has to say. Read it!