top of page

A Short Guide to Spiritual Disciplines by Mason King | Book Review

Updated: Sep 12, 2023


book cover a short guide to spiritual disciplines by mason king on a desk with acorns

The other day, I was with a woman who was struggling with serious health issues. She was most anxious about whether she'd improve enough to do the things she enjoyed. When our health takes a turn, we suddenly face the reality of our finitude.

I concluded with the thought of how often I take my physical health for granted.


But what about our spiritual health?

Just as our physical health is no guarantee, neither is our spiritual maturity.


While we discipline ourselves in practices that keep us near to Christ, A Short Guide to Spiritual Disciplines: How to Become a Healthy Christian by Mason King shows us how we can grow in maturity, not only in our spiritual practices, but also by considering our whole, human selves.

front cover of a short guide to spiritual disciplines by mason king

A Short Guide to Spiritual Disciplines by Mason King | Book Review

Content


quote from a short guide to spiritual disciplines by mason king

Content

Purpose of the Book

In this book, the author seeks to answer the question of how we become the people God has made us to be by developing our health in three areas.


Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION


SECTION 1 A Healthy Life With God

CHAPTER 1 Your Future Self

CHAPTER 2 Obstacles to Love and Growth

CHAPTER 3 Why A Spiritually Disciplined Life Feels Difficult


INTERLUDE Christ is to the Heart Like a River to a Tree Planted by It


SECTION 2 Three Dimensions to a Healthy Life With God


DIMENSION 1 Disciplining Our Attention

CHAPTER 4 Dethrone the Digital Savior

CHAPTER 5 Cultivate a Transformed Heart

CHAPTER 6 Learn to Listen


DIMENSION 2 Disciplining Our Emotions

CHAPTER 7 Process Your Emotions

CHAPTER 8 Trust God with Every Emotion


DIMENSION 3 Disciplining Our Limits

CHAPTER 9 Embrace Your Creaturehood

CHAPTER 10 Live with the End in Mind

CHAPTER 11 Live into Community


CONCLUSION A Process of Becoming


a quote from short guide to spiritual disciplines by mason king

Summary

I’ve often found books about spiritual disciplines are very practical and how-to. While we definitely need tangible steps to move forward, this book includes these, but reflects more on who we are and the challenges we face as Christians who want to grow in maturity. The three areas he discusses are our attention, our emotions and our limits.


It’s not hard to see how these are extremely relevant for our day and age. Becoming healthy requires us to be disciplined in our spiritual practices, but also in our thought life and our emotional life.


There are about 7 discussion questions at the end of each chapter that will get you to reflect on how the topic intersects with your life and faith. At the end he shares some recommended reading and a “turning points” exercise to help you gaze through your past and how events have shaped who you are today.


quote from a short guide to spiritual disciplines by mason king

My Take

So, how do we become healthy Christians?


"You might think the answer is "regularly read the Bible, pray often, and share the gospel consistently." And those practices are certainly part of it. But in this book, Mason King expands your thinking beyond basic spiritual practices (which typically emphasize what you must do) into a more holistic picture of what a full and flourishing life with God can look like when it is cultivated well (focusing instead on who you might become).

In these pages, learn how you can become a vibrant, healthy Christian by regularly offering to God three main dimensions of your life—your attention, your emotions, and your limitsfor when you are disciplined in cultivating these environments at the root, you will grow into the right kind of tree." (from the back)

I think the title of this book is a little misleading. If you've read books on spiritual disciplines, usually you anticipate the discussion to be about the specifics, like chapters on Bible reading, fasting, prayer, fellowship, etc. (like Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline)

This book isn't that. The author rather focuses on 3 important challenges to our spiritual maturity for this cultural moment: The relentless hijacking of our attention, how we interact with and process our emotions, and accepting our humanity and the limits we have as created beings.

He reminds us that unless we're dissatisfied with our life, we're not likely to change. When it comes to our spiritual growth, we do need to take a look at these 3 areas prayerfully and reflectively to see the ways we've not fully surrendered our whole lives to Christ. Obviously we're not perfect people, so it's not a judgment, it's an invitation to draw near to Christ, to lay our lives before the Spirit to examine and lead us deeper toward Him.


When it comes to our attention, he points out, "our attention is the most precious commodity we have. It is worth billions of dollars every day to companies who want to monetize our moments, desires, and good intentions." I'm not sure I'd really ever reflected on the monetary value of my attention, but it sure shook me to consider the importance of my stewardship in this area, particularly as devices seem to claw for my eyeballs.

The discipline of our emotions is a really valuable section in this book. As a nurse specializing in mental health, this is a regular topic for me with clients. The author shares biblical truth and practical strategies to help us. He reminds us, "if left unprocessed, emotions reinforce disordered desires and distort interpretations of our own experience. Surrendering and discipling how we handle our emotions enables us to move through them toward productive action in life with God." We learn to recognize what we're feeling, and also to trust God with how we feel.


Recognizing our limits may sound self-explanatory, but I don't think we always live this truth practically, especially when it comes to our drivenness and ambition, selfishness and self-reliance. The individualist mentality our culture adopts considers me-first or what's right for me, in contrast to what's best for our community. Though we have great abilities in our modern day to govern and control our own lives, the value and importance of community often goes to the wayside.


quote from a short guide to spiritual disciplines by mason king

My Recommendation

This book is for the Christian who wants to grow in maturity, yes that means becoming more disciplined and you'll find practical ways to do just that. I'll definitely give this 5 stars because there's really important topics to reflect on and practical ways to implement them. I highly recommend it.

 

The Knowing Faith team talks with Mason King about spiritual disciplines and the language of becoming. Listen here.


Quick Stats

# of pages: 208

Level of Difficulty: Easy

My Rating: 5 stars


More Like This

Scriptures About Spiritual Maturity

Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— (1 Pe 2:2)
But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (Heb 5:14)
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, (2 Ti 3:16)
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (2 Pe 3:18)
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Eph 5:1-2)

Follow Along

Check out my Goodreads

logo for goodreads where amber thiessen posts her book reviews


*Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review!

Comments


bottom of page