Summary of Disciplines of a Godly Man by R. Kent Hughes
Dalton DavisThe first chapter of this book deals with Discipline for Godliness, and discusses how having discipline is important in all endeavors to achieve success, especially Godliness, because it is the most important. It is introduced here and repeated throughout the book that we should be “sweating” in our pursuit of Godly wisdom. The next 4 chapters deal with different kinds of relationships, namely concerning purity, marriage, fatherhood and friendship. Purity and marriage went hand in hand, in that a man should strive to conserve his heart and all things associated with it until he finds the woman God provides for him, and once he has that woman he should take caution to not neglect her or see her as a burden in comparison to ministry or Godliness, but rather to model your relationship with her in alignment with the marriage between God and the Church. It is touched upon that two plagues are sweeping the country and the world, and that is boys missing fathers and men missing friends, all largely due to social expectations and preconceived secular notions of what a man should be and what a father should be, rather than a Biblically conceived notion of what they both should be. The next four chapters deal with disciplines of the soul, including mind, devotion, prayer and worship. The author urges men to focus their mind of Godly things and that which will benefit their understanding of Spiritual matters and not infect their minds with secular wickedness. He urges men to prioritize time with God in every day life, insisting the both devotion and prayer are essential to building a healthy spirit and maintaining a good relationship with God. After these, the four following chapters deal with disciplines of the character, and consist of integrity, tongue, work, and perseverance. In discussing integrity and the tongue, he reiterates that allowing one’s mind to drift into careless notions like crude humor or foul and insulting language, even when used playfully, can have a lasting and detrimental affect on the spirit. In discussing work and perseverance, the author dispels the notion that work is bad and that there is no joy in it, and instead offers biblical support to present the case that work is good if done with one’s whole heart and for the glory of God, and also that one does not overwork. The church, leadership, giving, witness, and ministry make up the next five-chapter section, titled the disciplines of ministry. In a nut-shell, these chapters go over church life both for members and leaders, and discusses the benefits, both material and spiritual, of being active in the church, giving generously, spreading the word of God in wisdom and grace, and for leading a church in the correct way of a Godly man. Lastly, the final chapter wraps the book up by explaining the grace and rewards of practicing such discipline in all facets of life, and how being given the freedom to pursue these disciplines is a reward in of itself, because the glory of God is shown to others through us.
My main takeaway from this book is that being a man who is God-centered is possible and expected, but is far from easy in this world. It take discipline and hard work to measure up to the expectations Jesus has for us, and in order to live a life pleasing to him we must be constantly aware of our intentions and spiritual health. We can never hope to be as perfect as God, or even as perfect as he wants us to be, but we can be intentional in our devotion to be men as the Bible tells us to.