I never understood the role of the spiritual disciplines until I read Richard Foster’s book, “Celebration of Discipline”. Foster describes their transforming work by comparing the disciplines to a narrow path with a chasm on the right and on the left:
“The chasm to the right is the way of moral bankruptcy through human strivings for righteousness. Historically this has been called the heresy of moralism. The chasm to the left is moral bankruptcy through the absence of human strivings.” (p. 8)
Our destructive habits, defective thinking patterns, our sins and addictions do not seem to just disappear when we become Christians. On the other hand, we all know the death that comes from simply trying to restrain our passions and desires. “The will has the same deficiency as the law–it can only deal with the externals. It is incapable of bringing about the inner transformation of the human spirit.” (p. 6,)
After reading Foster’s book for the first time, I began to seek the Lord in prayer and study daily, asking him to change me and free me from the sinful habits I had struggled with for so many years. And he has been changing me, from the inside out. It is a grace that is accessed through seeking his face.
Foster’s book gives practical advice to anyone who longs to enter into a deeper spirituality, but who doesn’t know how. I can’t recommend it enough; it has changed my life.