Book Review: Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth by Richard Foster

. at . 3 comments

I recently read one of the book’s doodah cited, Celebration of Discipline.  Richard Foster says spiritual disciplines not only help us order and influence our inward life, they also help us order and influence our outward life.

The twelve disciplines are divided into three areas of influence: inward, outward and corporate.

These are not sure-fire methods or quick techniques that will help a seeker come into God’s abundant presence. Rather they are more like slow-cooker processes that need time and diligence to flow into our inward being to bring their intended purpose of a “life of relationship and intimacy with God.”[1]

[1] Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline, (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1998), p5.

I loved the idea that the practice of these disciplines is effective in overcoming deeply entrenched sin (aka a stronghold). I was pleasantly surprised and hopeful to read that overcoming is not simply a matter of willpower.

This is the teaching I heard from a former church and former friends. I knew I was willing to change and despite trying many avenues some sin refused to budge. I couldn’t see the Philippians 2:13 promise applying to me. I knew that either I was wrong or God was.

 Or maybe there is a third option, maybe some of the teaching I had was wrong. While I haven’t devoted enough time yet to these disciplines, I have a tiny hope that maybe this is the way to overcoming entrenched and so unwelcome sin and having an ongoing, intimate relationship with God.

I am looking forward to learning more from you all through the Holy Spirit’s leading.

Entry filed under: Learning, Meditations, Susan's World.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. doodah  |  . at .

    Great thoughts, Susan. I think the book is encouraging too.

    I really like the tone of Foster’s writings – very much about grace. His words remind me that I am in a relationship with Jesus, not on some Seve Steps to Perfection Action Plan. Which is good news for me, cuz I’m terrible at Action Plans!

    I also love how Foster makes himself our companion in this journey of following Christ – not an expert who has the “magic bullet” and we are clueless. He writes things like “we try… we endeavor… we attempt… we come… we let…” I love that. No finger wagging. Just descriptions of “here’s what I read, and what I tried, maybe you would have some success if you tried those things too — or maybe there is something different that will be beneficial to you.”

    I find that b/c Foster’s tone is one of grace and companionship, I’m willing to attempt some of the spiritual exercises he describes and not think of them as tasks to fail, so much as experiences to try. Sort of like the Sabbath thing I’ve been doing. I’m enjoying this way to get close to God, and as part of the discipline, I remember that”The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

    Can’t wait to hear more of what you’re learning/trying!


  • 2. susan2009  |  . at .

    I agree, doodah, Foster makes it “easy” for me to follow along as well.

    Although, I have to confess, I am one who likes action plans and 7 steps to … I find safety in such direction.

    I don’t always find answers.

    Or the promised outcome.

    Or God.

    But, I find safety. Hmmm. Not a good trade off.


  • 3. Lynn Scheurell  |  . at .

    Thank you for sharing your talent and your ideas.

    spiritual teaching



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