Just as any living organism has requirements if it is to grow and thrive, in the same way Christians have God-given requirements that are necessary elements if there is to be any growth in grace and godliness. In this book R.C. Sproul describes five spiritual “nutrients” crucial to spiritual maturity: Bible study, prayer, worship, service and stewardship. In the Introduction Sproul borrows the biblical metaphor of athletics and writes, “Christians are called upon to train, to make sacrifices, and to embrace certain disciplines in order to give God ‘our utmost for His highest.’ This book deals with five of those disciplines: Bible study, prayer, worship, service and stewardship. Just as Olympic athletes work hard to achieve their best performances, our diligence in attending to these aspects of the Christian life will help determine our effectiveness in serving our Lord.”
Sproul teaches that the Word of God is God’s instrument for both conversion and spiritual growth. “By immersing ourselves in the Word of God, we begin to gain the mind of Christ and learn what discipleship is.” He offers advice on getting started in reading the Bible suggesting both methods and resources that will assist the new believer. When it comes to prayer, Sproul distinguishes between prayer as a duty, a privilege and a means of grace before offering practical tips on praying effectively. The chapter dealing with worship speaks of God’s regulations in worship, of the importance of worshiping in both spirit and truth and of the importance of preparation for times of worship. He then writes about service, saying that it is a practice essential to a vibrant faith and discussing the nature of servanthood. In the book’s fifth chapter he looks at sacrificial stewardship, discussing the tithe and the value of investing in the kingdom of God. And finally, in chapter six Sproul addresses a variety of relevant questions and answers (“Does God hear, act on, or grant the prayers of unbelievers?” “Should worship services have any focus on unbelievers?” “How often should a church celebrate the Lord’s Supper?”).
This is a small book, gift-sized really, and one that is very easy to read and digest. It is an ideal book to hand out as a gift or to give to a new believer. It offers introductory wisdom on disciplines that are crucial to the Christian life. Yet there is enough here that even a long-time believer will find biblical wisdom to challenge his Christian walk.
You can buy it at Westminster Books or at Amazon:Buy from Amazon