There are three books that have strongly impacted my growing up from a boy into a man. Do Hard Things kicked off the Rebelution in me; Wild at Heart, years later, got me through my late teens; and Disciplines of a Godly Man points me right and shoves me off as I head off towards 20s. While the order isn’t important, this book provides the final third of the trinity of books that have shaped me as a man growing up.
The title implies it, but guys, this book is for us. And in a world where manly books are often sensational, urging men to ‘unleash’ themselves or become ‘wild,’ and follow our ‘passions.’ Wild at Heart, as good as it is, exemplifies this. Disciplines of a Godly Man follows a starkly different pattern. There is little radical language here, though the principles within are certainly radical. This book is a call to discipline — a call to harness and use our passions. It is a call for manly strength and hard work in reliance on God. It is desperately needed.
Our culture is facing gender confusion and other issues that assail godly men from all sides. We are encouraged to be children for far longer than we should be. We are supposed to ’embrace’ our feminine side. Traditional ideals of hard work, sweat, chivalry, and manliness are dying out or being called gender discriminative. And though Disciplines of a Godly Man is not a one-book silver bullet to cure the problem of manliness, it’s a great start.
Hughes highlights four major areas in which manly discipline is needed: Relationships, Soul, Character, and Ministry. These four capture the various levels our lives are lived at: with our spouses, with God, with ourselves, and with the people around us. Throughout, Hughes calls readers to action, and not just head knowledge. Each chapter closes with a response question and a paragraph for further thought — and these are crafted to provoke just that. This book will lodge in your consciousness and wrap its way into all your thinking.
Most notable about this book is how Hughes avoids machismo or any other thing of the kind. We are men and we are called to be powerfully disciplined, yet that discipline can only come out of God and his transforming work in our lives. Indeed, the very first chapter exhorts men to Discipline towards godliness. Hughes calls us,
“Do we have the sweat in us? Will we enter the gymnasium of divine discipline? Will we strip away the things that hold us back? Will we discipline ourselves through the power of the Holy Spirit? I invite you into God’s gym in the following chapters — to some sanctifying sweat — to some pain and great gain.
I am praying that many men accept his invitation. Hughes’ message is one that is desperately needed, for it calls for a return to true masculinity, for reliance on God, and for a willingness to tackle hard work — in short, most of the things that modern-day males hide from. It is a rousing challenge, and it calls us to worth and truth. It is worth the hard work, if we rise up to the challenge. Men, will you rise up?
Published on 29 October, 2013. Last updated on