Another month. Another book. It’s like clock work. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. You could call it a ritual, a pattern, a rhythm. At the appointed time each month Christ and Pop Culture and Crossway Books join forces like Batman and Superman and distribute an excellent work to our members. You could call it a habit.
But like so many habits, some are good and some are bad. The bad habits are the ones we try and kick. The good habits we keep around to help us be better people and improve. We like to think of your subscription to Christ and Pop Culture as a good habit. Each month you contribute to the ongoing sustainability of our publication, and each month we share great content with you that will help you be a better human being. The ritual of spiritual and societal betterment is a deep value of ours.The means of grace are habits for our good, not to be a yoke we cannot bear to live under.
This month we’re partnering with Crossway Books to give to our members a book about habits. This book doesn’t just deal with good or bad habits. It is primarily aimed at connecting us with habits of the spiritual kind. Instead of seeking to help us improve in staying away from the morning grumps (which a regular habit of coffee brewing should fix), or to correct the bad habit of picking your nose (stop it!), David Mathis seeks to help us engage in a set of habits that, as he says, “fill our tank for the pursuit of joy, for the good of others, and for the glory of God.” Mathis seeks to direct us to habits of grace.
These habits in many circles are known as spiritual disciplines. They are often equated with the military-like boot camp structures of reading your Bible, praying, fasting and other such difficulties intended to make us more holy. Mathis is aware of this perception of the disciplines and seeks to redirect us to their intended purpose: to help us delight in Jesus more. Using the language of “means of grace” to describe the disciplines, Mathis takes away the inherent guilt that comes from the perspective of “not being disciplined,” and places us rightly in midst of true growth. These practices are mundane, simple, ordinary, and yet land us directly in the midst of an ever-flowing stream of constant grace.
While there are a significant number of books and resources available on the means of grace (let’s call them what they are), Mathis’ work is among the best. He understands the motion and commotion of contemporary lives. He understands the place of the spiritual habits, and the results they can yield. In practical ways, he helps make the means of grace accessible and engaging for us. The means of grace are habits for our good, not to be a yoke we cannot bear to live under.
Of particular interest, and a distinct aspect that sets Mathis’ work apart from other books on the spiritual disciplines, is the third section and the way he connects the disciplines with the community of faith. Often spiritual disciplines are spoken of in terms of individualistic pursuits of personal piety. We think, “I become a more spiritual person by getting alone, Bible-in-hand, and going off to a secluded place all by myself.” Mathis, however, talks about the disciplines in a communal way, calling us to life together as we grow in grace. We need the fellowship of believers to grow as much as we need the individual pursuit of grace ourselves.
Habits of Grace is intended to help readers plunge into the goodness of God’s grace, and grow more and more by his grace. In fact, if we could write an additional chapter to Habits of Grace, we would continue to tell you how a Christ and Pop Culture membership is a spiritual discipline that will help you become more and more spiritual. In fact, we will habitually say that each month. Become a member, get Habits of Grace, become a better human being…that’s a great habit.
To receive a free copy of David Mathis’ Habits of Grace, consider becoming a member of Christ and Pop Culture for as little as $5 per month. You’ll get free stuff each month, full access to CAPC Magazine (including all back issues), entrance to our exclusive members group on Facebook—and you’ll help us keep the lights on. Join now.