Philip Nation is the Director of Content Development with LifeWay Christian Resources and serves as Teaching Pastor for The Fellowship, a multi-campus church in Nashville. He has a new book that released this week – Habits for Our Holiness: How the Spiritual Disciplines Grow Us Up, Draw Us Together, and Send Us Out. I asked Philip to stop by and share a bit about this new book.
Our spiritual lives should be full of joy—never overwhelmed by guilt. Habits for Our Holiness is designed to give us easy paths to walk on for our spiritual growth. Here is an excerpt:
Plenty of others in our cities need to encounter the Word as well. There are the unchurched, the de-churched, and the antichurched. Everyone who is intentionally or unintentionally disengaged from a church family has made a choice. They have decided that the revelation from God—the Bible—and being in church to hear it, are unimportant. We need to learn how to talk with them. It cannot be the thunderous preacher on the street corner. Rather, it is the chance to talk friend-to- friend about the most important issue of our lives. As people of faith, at our core we believe that God has revealed Himself to us in the Bible. To go for years without ever bringing that up is beyond silly. It is ridiculous. Even more so, it is cruel.
God has revealed Himself so that all of humanity would hear from Him. Not just the select few of us who attend worship services, own a Bible, and read it for personal gain. The Scriptures, God’s revealed Word, are for everyone. We must dig into it so we can grow up in it. Then as we grow up in it, we can reach out because of it. In the second to the last book of the Bible, Jude wrote to a troubled church about the need to fend off those who were twisting the truth of God’s revelation. He closed his one-chapter letter with these words:
But you, dear friends, as you build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, expecting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life. Have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; have mercy on others but with fear, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.
Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blame- less and with great joy to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen. (vv. 20–25)
The impact of the passage is so clear. Grow up so I can reach out. Reach out so I can grow up. These two activities are linked, never to be separated. When we live like this, then we can fully understand the beauty Jude describes in verses 24–25. Growth and mission are the twin crucibles that God brings us through to make us look like Jesus. He is totally able and willing to shape our lives so we can stand in the gospel’s power. And when we do, it brings great joy—to us, and more importantly, to Him, the only God our Savior.
Today, take great joy in the gift of God’s Word.
Let me encourage you to get a copy of Philip’s book and dig through his work on how the spiritual disciplines engage our personal faith into God’s public mission.