What is the Path to Spiritual Growth?
It’s hard for me to believe that it’s taken me this long to pick up and read Richard Foster’s classic on essential tools for spiritual growth, Celebration of Discipline. Although I’ve studied the disciplines for quite some time and have read other books on spiritual formation that took cues from Foster, I finally got around to diving into the original. It’s clear why this book has been such an influential work on so many. Foster writes with eloquence and practicality, eager to challenge the reader but never pressing too hard. There’s a certain pastoral sensitivity in his prose that is a joy to read Foster’s progression through the inward and outward disciplines is logical and thoughtful, thorough without becoming verbose.
I loved this book and plan on re-reading it with some frequency. Some of my favorite thoughts and quotes:
When we despair of gaining inner transformation through human powers of will and determination, we are open to a wonderful new realization: inner righteousness is a gift from God to be graciously received...the demand is for an inside job, and only God can work from the inside. (p. 6)
The Spiritual Disciplines are intended for our good. They are meant to bring the abundance of God into our lives. It is possible, however, to turn them into another set of soul-killing laws. Law-bound Disciplines breathe death. (p. 9)
Christian meditation, very simply, is the ability to hear God's voice and obey his word. It is that simple...It involves no hidden mysteries, no secret mantras, no mental gymnastics, no esoteric flights into the cosmic consciousness. The truth of the matter is that the great God of universe, the Creator of all things desires our fellowship. (p. 17)
Service as a substitute for worship is idolatry. Activity is the enemy of adoration. (p. 161)
In the spiritual life only one thing will produce genuine joy, and that is obedience. (p. 192)
If you were to read only one book on growing in your faith as a disciple of Christ, this is the one.
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