There's a paradox to the spiritual disciplines—they aren't so much about doing as becoming. Yet, if we are going to be transformed into the likeness of Christ, we seem to have a lot of work to do.

Soon after William Watkins's conversion, he got caught up in the same conundrum. He understood there were things one did to better live the Christian life: evangelism, daily devotions, prayer, Bible study, regular church attendance, and tithing. But when Watkins found he couldn't do these core activities to his satisfaction, he felt overwhelming guilt.

Watkins, author of The New Absolutes (Bethany, 1997) and an instructor of history and logic, describes that which transformed his life: the discovery that love was the ultimate expression of faith. Once Watkins centered on love, the subsequent outflow brought him freedom and spiritual reward. He was still doing, but for the right reason: the joy of becoming a better lover of God and neighbor. In this practical book, Watkins confidently offers detailed ideas about how this filter of love can transform the spiritual disciplines, or what he calls "love habits."

Like Richard J. Foster in his classic Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth (Harper, 1988), Watkins unpacks the disciplines of meditation, prayer, study, simplicity, solitude, submission, service, confession, and guidance. He purposely leaves out Foster's fasting, worship, and celebration "in the interest of space." He also leaves out fellowship, which makes it onto other writers' lists.

Instead, he adds journaling (combined with meditation), sacrifice (combined with service), evangelism, and apologetics. Anticipating readers' surprise about the inclusion of the last two disciplines, he insists that evangelism ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.