I love to read. There are few things that shape the human race more than the influence of good writing. This has been true in my life in significant ways. Specifically in relationship to my spiritual formation, I can think of four books that have challenged me, encouraged me, shaped me and helped create who I am today. I thought it might be helpful/encouraging to some to grab a copy of these books as well, so if you are interested, here you go.
- The Pursuit of Holiness, Jerry Bridges
While in college, an older classmate, Shawn, asked me if I would be interested in walking through this book together. Eager to learn, I agreed and we began to meet weekly as he helped mentor/disciple me using this book. This book radically shaped my view of holiness and my need to walk in it, yes even to pursue it. This is one book that I would recommend to every believer, to be read on an annual basis. It is that powerful.
- Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Don Whitney
Dr. Whitney served as the co-pastor of a house church that I attended for a few months when I was 17 years old. He patiently helped me to understand some of the aspects of the sovereignty of God that I was struggling with as an eager, but frustrated teenager. Later he became my professor in seminary, and challenged me as few do. To this day, when I am struggling with specific aspects of church life, he is one of the first people I will pick up a phone and call for wisdom.This specific book, among the many he has written, has shaped the way I practice the spiritual disciplines. I am forever grateful for the influence of this book, and Dr. Whitney personally, helping shape my commitment to discipline alone, but more specifically the spiritual disciplines. This is the other book that I would encourage every believer to read on an annual basis. It is that influential.
- George Muller: Delighted In God (HistoryMakers), Roger Steer
I love biographies. Simply put, I believe learning from the lives of others may be among God’s greatest tools to shape later generations. Among all the biographies I have read, none has impacted me quite as significantly as that of George Muller. There is a good chance you have never heard of him, and that is a travesty. Do not wait any longer. Run over to Amazon and buy this book. Now. You will be glad you did.
- The Prodigal God, Tim Keller
I have struggled my entire life with the need to perform for God. I had become a walking modern day pharisee, and was not even aware of it. I did know, however, that my spiritual life was more drudgery than delight, and I knew that was not right. Enter Keller’s magnificent book. Today no living writer has influenced my life and theology quite as much as Tim Keller, aside from the possible exception of John Piper. This book literally transformed my life. If you grew up in religious circles, I cannot recommend this book strongly enough.
So, those are the four books that most significantly shaped my spiritual formation. What books have shaped you?