Today I’m beginning a spiritual renewal project for 2015 that I’ll be sharing about on Savoir Vivre throughout the year. Each month, I intend to purposefully devote myself to one of the twelve Spiritual Disciplines as described in one of my most cherished books, Richard J. Foster’s Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth.
As I read this book for the first time, I felt like I was being handed useful tools for cultivating a beautiful garden in my soul. Written in 1978 and now a classic, it introduces not only the inward disciplines of meditation, prayer, fasting and study, but also the the outward disciplines of simplicity, solitude, submission and service, and the corporate disciplines of confession, worship, guidance, and celebration. Chapter by chapter, the term discipline began to take on a new form – no longer rigid or burdensome, but instead a potential avenue for grace to enter my life. As Foster explains:
“God has given us the Disciplines of the spiritual life as a means of receiving His grace. The Disciplines allow us to place ourselves before God so that He can transform us… A farmer is helpless to grow grain; all he can do is to provide the right conditions for the growing of grain. He puts the seed in the ground where the natural forces take over and up comes the grain. The Disciplines are God’s way of getting us into the ground; they put 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 a means of God’s grace.”
-Chapter 1: The Spiritual Disciplines: Door to Liberation
Since happening upon Celebration, I have become fascinated with the disciplines, reading more books on the subject. I’ve reveled in the idea of simply being receptive, like a flower must be towards the sun or the rain. So, my New Year’s Resolution is to make my heart like fertile soil by devoting myself to these disciplines, in the order they appear in the book. As I study and practice them, I will be sharing about my experiences here with you. For January, I turn my focus to the discipline of Meditation. I invite you to purchase the book here and to read along with me throughout the year. I often spot copies at the library and used book stores too!
I am eager for the lessons ahead! This year, may we both both grow in grace and love, and as the apostle Paul wrote, “discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness.”