This morning my family and I worshiped in the Francis Auditorium. It is where Crosspoint Community Church (where my friend Pete Wilson is pastor) now worships, but is where Park Avenue Baptist Church used to worship. It was at
Here are some thoughts on section two The Outward Disciplines
Each of these disciplines are hard, but they provide immense freedom. They are all difficult for Westerners who have come to define themselves and seek value through possessions, positions, power, and pleasure. Each of these disciplines works to change a believer's value system to a Biblical one.
The discipline of simplicity is a difficult one, but can provide great freedom. Everyone I know including me has stuff we don’t need. We bought it knowing we didn’t need it and now we keep it even though it has no use. We in the West love to buy and own things. We can’t visit a condo at the beach without wanting to own it. We can’t be happy with a car that safely gets us where we need to be without wanting a new one when we see it. The house we said we had to have is no longer enough even though it provides everything we need.
Simplicity calls us to reality and responsibility. Foster speaks to the heart of the matter when he writes, “Because we lack a divine Center our need for security has led us into an insane attachment to things (p.80).
To exercise the discipline of simplicity is to gain a Biblical worldview. Once we value what God values and pursue what is of Him life gets simple. It is when we value temporal things and pursue short term pleasure, power, and position that we seek to gain security through possessions. To live a simple life you must live as though this world is not your home and believe that what matters most is God.
The discipline of solitude sounds so great until you do it. I hear many stay-at-home moms and hard working people saying bring it on. Well, what we must remember is that “Solitude is more a state of mind and heart than it is a place” (p.96). Solitude is not getting alone to do what you want. Solitude is getting quiet so you can hear God’s voice.
Foster does a very good job of explaining how God leads us through times of solitude. So many times people go through these seasons and doubt their salvation. This is not the purpose. That is what Satan the accuser tells you. We must have such a strong faith that we can go through “the dark night of the soul” and not lose hope, joy, peace, or purpose.
This is a discipline that I have to have help with. I have never gone through the “dark night” or a season of purposeful disciplined solitude without someone coaching me and walking with me. It’s hard and the devil can mess with you if you are not careful and leave you in a place of darkness and despair.
The discipline of submission is one of attitude, but it is liberating. The person who can be liberated from being seen, valued, appreciated, and applauded can change the world. This is what the discipline of submission seeks to produce.
This discipline can also lead to an unhealthy place and I have found it important to have others coach me and walk with me as I exercise this discipline. It is easy to apathetically just give in to people. That is not submission. Submission is giving yourself for the benefit of others. The purpose is to benefit others and that is the discipline. It is not just giving in. That is not necessarily beneficial. It is doing what needs to be done to help others without getting any kind of honor from it.
The final section on service is great. I’m out of time so let me just say that the section “Self-righteous Service Versus True Service” (p. 128) is worth the whole book. As a matter of fact it should be a book.