Habits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus through the Spiritual Disciplines

By David Mathis, Foreword by John Piper

... Show All

Habits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus through the Spiritual Disciplines

By David Mathis, Foreword by John Piper

... Show All

We’ve all been there. It's March and the New Year’s resolutions jotted in a notebook with the best of intentions are a foggy memory: memorize more Scripture, set aside a regular time and place to read the Bible, print prayer cards, and get more involved at church.

David Mathis, author of Habits of Grace, has a solution. Mathis serves as executive editor at desiringGod.org, pastor at Cities Church, and adjunct professor at Bethlehem College and Seminary. Mathis interacts regularly with students, elders, and people in the pews—and he recognizes that while the disciplines of reading the Bible, prayer, and fellowship are basic to the Christian walk, consistency can be tough.

Mathis shows readers how doable and life-giving it can be to integrate these habits into a daily routine, not as a mere to-do list, but as a way of putting oneself in the path of God’s grace. Expanding on these habits, he gives tips for Scripture memorization, meditation, praying both privately and corporately, fasting, journaling, time management, and more. He encourages Christians to develop habits that are realistic, noting that it may not make sense to cultivate every habit during every season of life. “If you work a full-time job and have a young family, it may be difficult . . . but do what you can do in this tight season to create little windows,” Mathis writes. Even five or ten minutes of Bible reading before bed or listening to a short podcast while commuting add up. There are ways to create space, redeem spare time, and make the most of what Mathis calls “mindless moments.”

“My aim is to help you understand the matrix of grace for living the Christian life and create practical pathways (your own habits) that are realistic and life-giving in your unique season of life,” Mathis explains. “My dream is that this book would serve you with simplicity, stability, confidence, power, and joy.”

In his book, Mathis includes numerous sections with practical suggestions: 5 Tips for Bible Memory, 5 Suggestions for Secret Prayer, 5 Principles for Lifelong Learning, and more. These seemingly simple practices have the power to awaken our souls to God’s glory and stir our hearts for lifelong service in his name. 

Read Chapter 1


Author:

David Mathis

David Mathis serves as senior teacher and executive editor at desiringGod.org, a pastor at Cities Church in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and an adjunct professor at Bethlehem College & Seminary in Minneapolis. He and his wife, Megan, have four children. He is author of several books, including Habits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus through the Spiritual Disciplines.

Product Details

Title: Habits of Grace
Subtitle: Enjoying Jesus through the Spiritual Disciplines
Published: February 29, 2016
ISBN-10: 1-4335-5047-4
ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-5047-8
Category: Christian Living
Retail Price: $18.99
Binding: Printed Caseside
Trim: 5.25 in x 8.0 in
Page Count: 240

Table of Contents

Introduction: Grace Gone Wild

Part 1: Hear His Voice (Word)

  1. Shape Your Life with the Words of Life
  2. Read for Breadth, Study for Depth
  3. Warm Yourself at the Fire of Meditation
  4. Bring the Bible Home to Your Heart
  5. Memorize the Mind of God
  6. Resolve to Be a Lifelong Learner

Part 2: Have His Ear (Prayer)

  1. Enjoy the Gift of Having God’s Ear
  2. Pray in Secret
  3. Pray with Constancy and Company
  4. Sharpen Your Affections with Fasting
  5. Journal as a Pathway to Joy
  6. Take a Break from the Chaos

Part 3: Belong to His Body (Fellowship)

  1. Learn to Fly in the Fellowship
  2. Kindle the Fire in Corporate Worship
  3. Listen for Grace in the Pulpit
  4. Wash in the Waters Again
  5. Grow in Grace at the Table
  6. Embrace the Blessing of Rebuke

Part 4: Coda

  1. The Commission
  2. The Dollar
  3. The Clock

Epilogue: Communing with Christ on a Crazy Day

Endorsements

“This book is about grace-empowered habits, and Spirit-empowered disciplines. These are the means God has given for drinking at the fountain of life. They don’t earn the enjoyment. They receive it. They are not payments for pleasure; they are pipelines. All of us leak. We all need inspiration and instruction for how to drink—again and again. Habitually. If you have never read a book on ‘habits of grace’ or ‘spiritual disciplines,’ start with this one. If you are a veteran lover of the river of God, but, for some reason, have recently been wandering aimlessly in the desert, this book will be a good way back.”
John Piper, Founder and Teacher, desiringGod.org; Chancellor, Bethlehem College & Seminary; author, Desiring God

“Simple. Practical. Helpful. In Habits of Grace, Mathis writes brilliantly about three core spiritual disciplines that will help us realign our lives and strengthen our faith. In a world where everything seems to be getting more complicated, this book will help us to downshift and refocus on the things that matter most.”
Louie Giglio, Pastor, Passion City Church, Atlanta; Founder, Passion Conferences; author, The Comeback

“Although this little book says what many others say about Bible reading, prayer, and Christian fellowship (with two or three others tacked on), its great strength and beauty is that it nurtures my resolve to read the Bible and it makes me hungry to pray. If the so-called ‘means of grace’ are laid out as nothing more than duties, the hinge of sanctification is obligation. But in this case, the means of grace are rightly perceived as gracious gifts and signs that God is at work in us, which increases our joy as we stand on the cusp of Christian freedom under the glories of King Jesus.”
D. A. Carson, Cofounder and Theologian-at-Large, The Gospel Coalition

“Most people assume that disciplined training is necessary for attaining any skill— professional, academic, or athletic. But for some reason, Christians do not see this principle applying to their Christian lives. In his excellent book, Habits of Grace, David Mathis makes a compelling case for the importance of the spiritual disciplines, and he does so in such a winsome way that will motivate all of us to practice the spiritual disciplines of the Christian life. This book will be great both for new believers just starting on their journey and as a refresher course for those of us already along the way.”
Jerry Bridges, author, The Pursuit of Holiness

“David Mathis has more than accomplished his goal of writing an introduction to the spiritual disciplines. What I love most about the book is how Mathis presents the disciplines—or ‘means of grace’ as he prefers to describe them—as habits to be cultivated in order to enjoy Jesus. The biblical practices Mathis explains are not ends—that was the mistake of the Pharisees in Jesus’s day and of legalists in our time. Rather they are means by which we seek, savor, and enjoy Jesus Christ. May the Lord use this book to help you place yourself ‘in the way of allurement’ that results in an increase of your joy in Jesus.”
Donald S. Whitney, Professor of Biblical Spirituality and Associate Dean, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; author, Family Worship; Praying the Bible; and Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life

“So often, as we consider the spiritual disciplines, we think of what we must do individually. Mathis takes a different approach that is both insightful and refreshing. Along with our personal time of prayer and reading, we are encouraged to seek advice from seasoned saints, have conversations about Bible study with others, and pray together. The Christian life, including the disciplines, isn’t meant to be done in isolation. Mathis’s depth of biblical knowledge along with his practical guidance and gracious delivery will leave you eager to pursue the disciplines, shored up by the grace of God.”
Trillia Newbell, author, If God Is For Us: The Everlasting Truth of Our Great Salvation

“This is the kind of book I turn to periodically to help examine and recalibrate my heart, my priorities, and my walk with the Lord. David Mathis has given us a primer for experiencing and exuding ever-growing delight in Christ through grace-initiated intentional habits that facilitate the flow of yet fuller springs of grace into and through our lives.”
Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author; Founder, Revive Our Hearts and True Woman

“There is not a Christian in the world who has mastered the spiritual disciplines. In fact, the more we grow in grace, the more we realize how little we know of hearing from God, speaking to God, and meditating on God. Our maturity reveals our inadequacy. Habits of Grace is a powerful guide to the spiritual disciplines. It offers basic instructions to new believers while bringing fresh encouragement to those who have walked with the Lord for many years. It is a joy to commend it to you.”
Tim Challies, blogger, Challies.com

“When I was growing up, spiritual disciplines were often surrounded by an air of legalism. But today the pendulum has swung in the other direction: it seems that family and private devotions have fallen off the radar. The very word habits can be a turnoff, especially in a culture of distraction and autonomy. Yet character is largely a bundle of habits. Christ promises to bless us through his means of grace: his Word preached and written, baptism, and the Lord’s Supper. Like a baby’s first cry, prayer is the beginning of that life of response to grace given, and we never grow out of it. Besides prayer, there are other habits that grace motivates and shapes. I’m grateful for Habits of Grace bringing the disciplines back into the conversation and, hopefully, back into our practice as well.”
Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California

“David Mathis has given us a book on the spiritual disciplines that is practical, actionable, and accessible. He speaks with a voice that neither scolds nor overwhelms, offering encouragement through suggestions and insights to help even the newest believer find a rhythm by which to employ these means of grace. A treatment of the topic that is wonderfully uncomplicated and thorough, Habits of Grace offers both a place to start for beginners and a path to grow for those seasoned in the faith.”
Jen Wilkin, Bible teacher; author, Women of the Word; None Like Him; and In His Image

“I am drawn to books that I know are first lived out in the messiness of life before finding their way onto clean sheets of paper. This is one of those books! David has found a well-worn path to Jesus through the habits of grace he commends to us. I am extremely grateful for David’s commitment to take the timeless message in this book and communicate it in language that is winsome to the mind and warm to the heart. This book has the breadth of a literature review that reads like a devotional. I am eager to get it into the hands of our campus ministry staff and see it being read in dorm rooms and student centers across the country.”
Matt Bradner, Regional Director, Campus Outreach

“David Mathis has provided us with a gospel-driven, Word-centered, Christ-exalting vision of Christian spiritual practices. Furthermore, he understands that sanctification is a community project: the local church rightly looms large in Habits of Grace. This book is perfect for small group study, devotional reading, or for passing on to a friend who is thinking about this topic for the first time. I give it my highest recommendation.”
Nathan A. Finn, Provost and Dean of the University Faculty, North Greenville University