I'm reading a new book (not newly published, but new to me) and highly recommend it to anyone who would like to learn about one man's method for developing yourself as a more complete person from the inside out. The book is by a man named Gordon MacDonald and it's called, "Ordering Your Private World."
It's a great book written by a man who has years of life experience and wisdom that, consequently, spill out onto the pages of his book as he offers practical suggestions on how to live a life that is more in tune with God's plan. The root problem that many people have in developing their relationship with their creator today, MacDonald says, is that we are so "driven" and spend so much time pursuing things that are external in nature, few of us have ever taken the time to create order and routine in the realm of our private worlds. Too often we let the external world and the demands that it makes on our time, energy, thoughts, and emotions (even those demands that are inherently good) steal away from the time, energy, thought, and emotion we should be putting into our very private, very intimate relationship with God. To quote an editorial review of the book:
"Never admitting to have it all together, but rather using his own personal struggle as a way for readers to relate to his principles, Gordon MacDonald's classic book invites readers to bring order to their personal life by inviting God's control over every segment of their lives. His premise is that if the private world of a person is in order, it will be because they are convinced that the inner world of the spiritual must govern the outer world of activity."
I've read a lot of different books that have, at their heart, the same goal for their readers: to draw us closer to our creator in our day to day living; however, they are usually a lot more philosophical and preachy than they are practical and helpful. So far, MacDonald has been the exact opposite.
Some of the main principles from the book are (taken from a reader review on Amazon.com):
1. Busyness is not always of God.
2. Driven people focus on the external while ignoring the private world.
3. We must not let busyness upset us or cause us to neglect our inner life.
4. The importance of solitude and time alone with God.
5. Jesus used His time wisely.
6. The characteristics of a called person.
7. Specific steps and encouragement to discipline the mind.
8. The importance of prayer and intercession for others.
That's all on this book for now, but if you (like me) sometimes feel like your faith has become a series of actions (being a nice person, attending church service, saying short prayers at meals and before bed, doing occasional good things for other people, and reading the bible on occasion) this book offers a lot of insight into why despite participation in a lot of good and worthy activities, many of us are not where we would like to be in our relationship with God.