October 19, 2006
5 Things learned from Celebration of Discipline
I just finished reading Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline for the second time. This book, along with Thomas Merton's Seven Storey Mountain, was instrumental in changing my life and ministry.
Here are somethings I learned (again?):
1. I am far from finished. Those who know me, know this is very true.
2. I want so much more. Every time I read this book, I am re-convinced that God has so much more available than I am taking advantage of on my journey. I also realize that my lack is not God's fault. I am responsible to be in the place where God gives His grace. I always think of Paul's use of sporting metaphors. We are training. We are preparing. We are growing stronger.
3. I realize that it is all about God. It is not my effort that causes me to grow. I must show up. I must use the disciplines that God has given, but God is the one who gives the grace and deepens me spiritually.
4. I also realized that my pursuit of God and Christlikeness is the priority. This is not self-seeking or egotistical, but simply a recognition that God has called me to be an example of the life he desires. I am fallible, but that too is an example to others. I need to be giving the best me I can give. This takes place through simple, but rigorous obedience to His commands.
5. I also re-discovered "conviction." We don't speak of that word much because of the negative connotations of guilt. But God-inspired guilt is really what conviction is all about, and without it there is no access to forgiveness. We realize we are in the wrong, need to change, are helpless to do anything on our own, and so we accept all that God has and does for us.
This is probably not a point, but I also decided that this book should be a must-read for anyone entering the ministry, and should be at least an every-other-year read for me.