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A Summary of the Disciplines

Where do you find yourself today? Are you excited about your life or disappointed? Do you have rich, fulfilling relationships or dead and empty ones? Is your relationship with God vibrant and thriving or are you at a lull?  Wherever you find yourself, there are changes you can make to enjoy a more joyful and satisfying life. These twelve disciplines, given to us by Richard Foster, author of Celebration of Discipline, challenge us to go deeper in our relationship with God and have more meaningful relationships with others.

The first set of disciplines is called the inward disciplines of meditation, prayer, fasting, and study and they have to do with your personal relationship with the Lord. The discipline of meditation will help you to slow down and begin to hear God’s voice.  As you meditate upon His Word, Scripture will come alive and God’s words will take root in your heart.  Meditating on the Lord will lead you to the second discipline, prayer. As we pray, which is simply talking to God, we are transformed. We remind God of His promises to us in His Word and remind our problems of the greatness of our God. During prayer a divine exchange takes place; we give God the issues that are weighing on us and He gives us a perspective, an understanding, and a response to life’s challenges that we didn’t have before praying.  Fasting goes hand in hand with prayer as it causes us to increase our spiritual sensitivity and postures us to receive breakthroughs and clarity. These three disciplines give us the understanding we need to effectively study the Scriptures and other books by biblically sound writers.

The second set of disciplines is called the outward disciplines which are simplicity, solitude, submission, and service. The discipline of simplicity helps us to not fill our lives with things that bring clutter. It challenges us to have possessions without letting them possess us.  Developing the discipline of solitude is not merely staying away from people but learning to have an inner quietness even while people are around and being present in the moment.  We are challenged to develop an attitude of submission toward others; always considering the good of others above our own. This leads us to the discipline of service toward others; where we seek to give of ourselves for the betterment of others.

The third set of disciplines are called the corporate disciplines of confession, worship, guidance, and celebration. Confessing our sins to the Lord frees us and allows us to experience His forgiveness. And confessing our sins to others helps us to develop authentic relationships, have accountability, and experience the acceptance that comes with being loved regardless of our mistakes. Worship, individually and corporately, is to be the priority and focus of the believer. Christ must remain the object of all our worship and it cannot be replaced with serving others. As believers worship together, a bond is formed which allows for guidance; an atmosphere where believers are open to receiving direction, wisdom and counsel from each other.  The discipline of celebration allows us to experience the joy of our salvation. We will tire from the other disciplines without celebration. Take time to celebrate the good things in life.

You may be familiar with these disciplines, or this may be your first time reading about them. We challenge you to take one discipline in each category and focus on how to develop it in your life.

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