So, I finally decided what it will be...
I don't do book studies in place of a Bible study. I used to have some problems with this, of devouring a book over God's Word. Even a book about God's Word or that had a lot of God's Word in it was a problem for me. However, I do recommend a good study Bible or commentary as a companion to studying the Bible. The Holy Spirit is quite powerful and I am thankful for His work as I seek to study the Bible as my primary source and these other helpful books and materials as a secondary source to the Word. This is just my personal preference and disclaimer. On to Disciplines of a Godly Woman or for short DGW...
Chapter 1 - Discipline for Godliness
(shortest chapter of the book)
Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:7) It would be incredible if godliness came naturally, but unfortunately it does not. In fact, I think I spend a lot of time fighting with my rebellious heart to get it to even consider acting godly in certain situations. In 1 Timothy here, Paul is admonishing us that training has to take place for godliness to happen, but the end results seem to make the effort worthwhile. In Hebrews, the Bible talks about laying aside hindrance and running the race set before us with endurance. (Hebrews 12:1) In DGW, she asks the question, "What is weighing you down today?" How can I train to be godly when obstacles and hindrances are in the way? A simple thought should be put forth before proceeding... "Disciplined Christian lives are the exception in today's church, not the rule." What an incredible opportunity to follow the Word and be the exception?
One roadblock needs to be dealt with before getting into the different disciplines. Discipline does not and is not equal to legalism. In DGW, it is described this way, "legalism is self-centered, discipline is God-centered." Personally, I come from a somewhat legalistic background. At times, there were situations where one had to be careful that some ideas or beliefs did not translate into gaining merit with God, or more of a works-based salvation. Discipline comes from a life that wants to be transformed by the Word of God in order to glorify Him, not to gain merit or good standing with God. (Side note: salvation is nothing you can do. -Ephesians 2:8-9) "The true heart of discipline is relationship--a relationship with God."
The chapter wraps up with an excellent thought. "A Christian's life is about bring the will under submission to God's will, and submission is an idea that has fallen on hard times." Disciplines of a Godly Woman is about submission. It is a tough word for me to grasp at times and put into practice, but I have learned, sometimes the hard way, that submitting to God's will is the best way. Each chapter concludes with a few "Renew Your Mind" questions. I will plan on sharing a few of them at the end of each blog.
- What is spiritual discipline, and why is it so important? What usually prevents you from exercising spiritual discipline. (see Romans 3:9-18)
- Reflect on 1 Timothy 4:7-8 ("Train yourself to be godly") What is the literal meaning of train? What does the definition tell you about the way to approach spiritual discipline?
- Is there a cost to spiritual discipline? Check out 1 Corinthians 9:25-27. What could greater discipline cost you? Are you prepared to pay the price?