Recently I was encouraged by a friend to reread Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. This was my second time through the book, but the previous time was several years ago. While I remembered liking the book, most of the gems found within were either forgotten or not gleaned from that first pass.
This book isn’t a detailed review on how to do these different disciplines of the faith, but instead Foster encourages believer to partake of the blessing found in them. Foster finds a nice blend of God’s role and our roles in Christian activities. The disciplines are not our attempts to earn God’s pleasure, but they also do not come naturally. While they can be hard work, they should not lead us into slavery but greater freedom. Foster writes, “the primary requirement [for the disciplines] is a longing after God.” He goes on to say, “by themselves the Spiritual Disciplines can do nothing; they can only get us to the place where something can be done.”
While the Celebration of Discipline is not so much a ‘how-to’, Foster trusts the Holy Spirit to guide the readers in how to apply each discipline to their own lives. Each person is different and will approach the disciplines in their unique personality. With the Spirit as the guide and this book as motivation, your heart will be ready for new and ongoing encounters with God.
Foster’s chapter on solitude was personally challenging. Foster mentions that when we possess inward solitude we do not fear being alone. Before reading the book, God had been reminding me how alone I felt growing up. I don’t feel it much now being married, but when my wife travels, these feeling come back to the surface. I definitely believe that God is wanting to give me freedom in this area. According to Foster, inner solitude sets us fear from loneliness and fear. My wife and I got together and prayed this through and how it would look like for our family. For this month we will be committing to follow the Sabbath. We have done a couple weeks and found it very beneficial. It is amazing the personal time you can find by committing to stay at home, pre-make meals, and turn off the TV. I hope that I can receive more of God’s love for just being me and not what I do.
- Additional Resources: Prayer Quotes – Richard Foster