Monday, June 2, 2008

Disciplines Intro.

I recently started to re-read of one of my favorite books that was assigned reading during a Spiritual Formation class I took a few years ago. Richard J. Foster's Celebration of Discipline describes different Disciplines (or practices) that we use to connect with God in order to satisfy the need we have for intimacy with God. I'll post as often as I can (depends on how much I read) and give some of Foster's thoughts, as well as some of my thoughts.
To begin, I'll offer a few quotes from the Introduction of the book...along with a bit of my own commentary:

"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." -Richard J. Foster Celebration of Discipline Introduction (page 1)
These words, although written 30 years ago, are still true. In fact, I would argue that we're even more addicted to instant gratification because of advances in technology- with the internet at many of our fingers, we can satisfy almost any desire we have....but the internet can never give us intimacy with God. The kind of intimacy we truly desire comes from consciously seeking God and searching to know God better each day...This is the type of person one should strive to be after making the decision to follow Jesus. Jump in, explore, dare to be deep with God.

"In our enthusiasm to practice the Disciplines, we may fail to practice discipline. The life that is pleasing to God is not a series of religious duties. We have only one thing to do, namely, to experience a life of relationship and intimacy with God..." -Richard J. Foster Celebration of Discipline Introduction (page 4)
This is something I want (and want you) to keep in mind during this entire series. When we become more disciplined in our faith, we risk the trap of being impressed with ourselves, thinking, "God must be very proud of me." The truth is, there's not much we can do to impress God. If it's approval we seek, all we need to do is to "experience... [that] relationship" with God. But it's not possible to passively experience God, it will be passionate, and it should be desired as your discipline turns from feeling like a chore to feeling like a necessity.

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