First a bit of housekeeping. I thought Richard Foster should know that I was blogging about his book so I emailed him. An assistant of his got back with me yesterday and requested that I properly and fully cite his work, and encourage my readers to buy the book, which of course I am happy to do. So once again here is the link for ordering Celebration of Discipline. Also you may want to check out Renovare, which is the ministry founded by Richard Foster.
Now back to the disciplines. Can I just say that fasting is a difficult topic for me to discuss? The idea of fully revealing my spiritual immaturity with this discipline makes me want to crawl under the table. I am not a disciplined person in general. With regard to food I’m about as undisciplined as you can possibly be. And we all know people who are toothpick thin and joke about their indulgences, but my level of indulgence is something these people know nothing about. I mean I still kid around about it, but really it is not funny. It’s gluttony. It’s sin. And sin isn’t funny. If God hadn’t been merciful in giving me a good metabolism I think I’d be morbidly obese instead of just overweight. I mean it. So there is absolutely no insight that I can add to fasting. I’m about as newbie as they come. And for me, efforts to fast, however short are tainted by a dieting mentality. I am already prone to think way too much about how I might lose these twenty extra pounds. So it’s a serious issue because as Foster indicates, the biblical fast always centers on God. Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1998), p.54.
So personal insight into the how and why of fasting? None. But I was convinced even before reading this book, that there is a biblical call to fast, and Foster is methodical in going through the biblical foundation. He also explains that, “Fasting helps us keep balance in life. How easily we begin to allow nonessentials to take precedence in our lives. How quickly we crave things we do not need until we are enslaved by them.” Celebration of Discipline, p.56.
I need balance. I need discipline. I need moderation with food. I need to not be enslaved by cravings. I need to consume less. I need to think less about what I will consume. Oh my, there is a lot of work to be done in me. May I cling this week to Philippians 1:6, “being confident that He who began a good work in [me] will carry it on to completion…”