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Why spiritual disciplines?

celebration-of-discipline I’ve been lightly skimming over Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster this week. It’s one of my very favorite books of all time. It introduced me to the whole concept of spiritual disciplines several years ago.

I’ve since read more books about spiritual disciplines in my efforts to practice them. But this book remains the standard. I return to it again and again.

A few excerpts from Chapter 1, “The Spiritual Disciplines: Door to Liberation”

Superficiality is the curse of our age. The doctrine of instant satisfaction is a primary spiritual problem. The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.

* * * * *

God intends the Disciplines of the spiritual life to be for ordinary human beings: people who have jobs, who care for children, who wash dishes and mow lawns. In fact, the Disciplines are best exercised in the midst of our relationships with our husband or wife, our brothers and sisters, our friends and neighbors.

* * * * *

Joy is the keynote of all the Disciplines. The purpose of the Disciplines is liberation from the stifling slavery to self-interest and fear.

* * * * *

In one important sense, the Spiritual Disciplines are not hard. We need not be well advanced in matters of theology to practice the Disciplines…The primary requirement is a longing after God (Psalm 42:1-2).

* * * * * *

The Disciplines are God’s way…of putting us where he can work within us and transform us. By themselves the Spiritual Disciplines can do nothing; they can only get us to the place where something can be done. …[They] are the means by which we place ourselves where he can bless us.

* * * * *

Lord, let me replace any superficial drives with training towards spiritual growth. In this time, with these people, in these circumstances. May I keep finding more joy in intimacy with you as you free me from myself. I long for you, Father, and I want to be transformed more into your image as I rest in your presence.


Brenda said...

I love that book! I return to it alot, too, although not recently. Thanks for the tidbits! :-)

Lisa notes... said...

There are SO many good tidbits that come from that book. I'd like to go through it with a group again... Didn't we do it at some point together?

Or if not with a group, I need to at least do it on my own again. Maybe for next year...


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