“Celebration of Discipline”: Inleiding – ‘n Veranderende Lewe


In die vorige bespreking, het ons gesien dat innerlike verandering net moontlik is deur die werk van God binne ons. Ons kan dit nie bereik deur ons eie wilskrag en determinasie nie. Terselfdertyd moet ons onthou dat ons ook ‘n rol speel in die proses. God gee die Dissiplines, maar ons moet die Dissiplines beoefen. Ons het gesien dat Foster praat van die “pad van gedissiplineerde genade”, omdat dit gratis is, maar ook omdat daar iets is wat ons moet doen.

Sommige mense sê dat deugde maklik is. Dit is net waar wanneer die genadige werk van God ons innerlike gees oorgeneem het en die geïntegreerde patrone van ons lewens verander het. Voordat dit gebeur, is deugde (baie) moeilik. (Foster, 1989 (Eerste uitgawe: 1980))

Voordat die genade van God se werk oorneem, sukkel ons om ‘n liefdevolle gees en gees van omgee te wys. Dit is omdat ons probeer om iets van buite aft e bring na ons innerlike toe. Meestal kom daar egter iets van binne af na vore waarvan ons nie hou nie – ‘n bitter en bytende gees. Dit is moeilik o mom te gee. Wanneer ons begin om die pad van gedissiplineerde genade te loop, sal ons die innerlike veranderinge begin ontdek. (Foster, 1989 (Eerste uitgawe: 1980))

Ons ontvang net ‘n geskenk, maar ons weet dat die veranderinge werklik is. Ons weet dat dit werklik is, omdat ons ontdek dat dit makliker raak om om te gee. Om vol bitterheid te wees, raak moeilik. Liefde – liefde vanaf God – het in ons innerlike gees ingekom, en dit het ons gewoontes kom oorneem. In die onbeheersde oomblikke, is daar ‘n spontane vloei van liefde, vreugde, vrede, geduld, vriendelikheid, goedheid, getrouheid, sagmoedigheid en selfbeheersing (die Vrug van die Gees, waarvan ons lees in Galasiërs 5:22-23). (Foster, 1989 (Eerste uitgawe: 1980))

Daar is nie meer die uitputtende behoefte om ons innerlike self van ander weg te steek nie. Ons hoef nie meer hard te werk om goed en vriendelik te probeer wees nie – ons ís goed en vriendelik. Dit sal eerder harde werk wees om nie goed en vriendelik te wees nie, juis omdat goedheid en vriendelikheid deel geword het van ons natuurlike aard. Die natuurlike bewegings van ons lewens produseer nou “regverdigheid en vrede en vreugde in die Heilige Gees” (Romeine 14:17). (Foster, 1989 (Eerste uitgawe: 1980))

In die volgende bespreking, sal ons kyk wat gebeur as ons die Geestelike Dissiplines verander in wette wat ons “moet doen”.

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“Celebration of Discipline”: Introduction – A Changing Life


In the previous instalment, we saw that inner transformation is only possible by the work of God inside of us. We can’t achieve it through our own will and determination. At the same time, we have to remember that we also have a part to play in the process. God gives the Disciplines, but we have to practice the Disciplines. We saw that Foster talks about “the path of disciplined grace”, because it is free, but also because there is something that we have to do.

Some people say that “Virtue is easy”. This is only true to the extent that the gracious work of God has taken over our inner spirit and transformed the ingrained patterns of our lives. Until that happens, virtue is (very) hard. (Foster, 1989 (First edition: 1980))

Before the grace of God’s work takes over, we will struggle to show a loving and compassionate spirit. It is because we are trying to bring something from the outside to our insides. Mostly, what happens, is that there comes something from our inside that we do not want – a biting and bitter spirit. It is difficult to be and to stay compassionate. Once we start to walk on the path of disciplined grace, we will start to discover internal changes. (Foster, 1989 (First edition: 1980))

We only receive a gift, but we know that the changes are real. We know they are real, because we discover that it becomes easier to be compassionate. To be full of bitterness has become hard. Love, love from God, has come into our inner spirit, and that has taken over our habit patterns. In the unguarded moments, there is a spontaneous flow of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (the Fruit of the Spirit, as found in Galatians 5:22-23). (Foster, 1989 (First edition: 1980))

There is no longer that tiring need to hide our inner selves from others. We don’t have to work hard anymore at trying to be good and kind – we are good and kind. The hard work would be to refrain from being good and kind, because goodness and kindness have become part of our nature. The natural motions of our lives now produce “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). (Foster, 1989 (First edition: 1980))

In the next instalment, we will see what happens when we turn the Spiritual Disciplines into laws that we “have to do”.

“Celebration of Discipline”: Inleiding – Die Geestelike Gawes open die Deur


Sodra ons ophou probeer om innerlike verandering deur menslike krag en wil te bekom, begin ons oop raak vir ‘n nuwe ontdekking: Innerlike regverdigheid is ‘n gawe van God, wat slegs genadiglik ontvang kan word. Die nodige verandering binne ons is nie ons werk nie. Dit is God se werk! Slegs God kan ‘n werk binne ons doen, soda tons vanaf die binnekant na buite verander word. Ons kan nie hierdie geregtigheid van die koninkryk van God verdien nie. Dit is ‘n genade wat aan ons gegee word. (Foster, 1989 (Eerste uitgawe: 1980))

In Romeine, verduidelik Paulus dat regverdigheid ‘n gawe van God is. Hy gebruik hierdie term 35 keer in die Romeine-brief. Elke keer wat hy dit gebruik, hou hy vol dat dit nie bereik is nie en nie bereikbaar is deur menslike pogings nie. Hierdie onderrig is nie uniek aan Romeine nie; ons vind dit in die hele Bybel. Dit is een van die hoekstene van die Christelike geloof. (Foster, 1989 (Eerste uitgawe: 1980))

Wanneer ons hierdie waarheid begryp, is daar ‘n gevaar dat ons op ‘n ander verkeerde manier kan begin dink. Ons kom in die versoeking om te glo dat daar niks is wat ons kan doen nie. Indien alle menslike pogings eindig in morele armoede, en indien regverdigheid ‘n genadige gawe van God is, raak dit logies om tot die gevolgtrekking te kom dat ons moet wag sodat God kan kom en ons kan verander. Die ontleding – pogings is onvoldoende en geregtigheid is ‘n gawe van God – is korrek, maar die gevolgtrekking is nie korrek nie. God het die Geestelike Dissiplines gegee as ‘n manier om Sy genade te ontvang. Die Dissiplines laat ons toe om onsself voor god te plaas, sodat Hy ons kan verander. (Foster, 1989 (Eerste uitgawe: 1980))

In Galasiërs 6:8, skryf Paulus die volgende: “Wie op die akker van sy sondige natuur saai, sal van die sondige natuur dood en verderf oes. Maar wie op die akker van die Gees saai, sal van die Gees die ewige lewe oes” (1983 Afrikaanse Vertaling). Paulus gebruik die analogie van die boer. ‘n Boer kan nie graan groei nie. Hy kan net die regte omstandighede skep vir die graan om te groei. Hy kan die grond bewerk. Hy plant die sade. Hy gee water. Na al hierdie dinge, neem die natuurwette oor, sodat die graan groei. Dit werk dieselfde met Geestelike Dissiplines. Op ‘n manier is Geestelike Dissiplines ‘n manier om in die Gees te saai. Die Dissiplines is God se manier om ons in die grond te kry – dit plaas ons in ‘n plek waar Hy binne ons kan werk en ons verander. Die Geestelike Dissiplines kan niks uit hulself doen nie. Hulle kan ons net op ‘n plek kry waar iets gedoen kan word. Hulle is God se manier om genade te gee. Die innerlike geregtigheid waarna ons verlang, is nie iets wat in ons koppe ingegooi word nie. God het die Geestelike Dissiplines georden as die manier waarop ons onsself plaas in ‘n plek waar Hy ons kan seën. (Foster, 1989 (Eerste uitgawe: 1980))

Dit sal dalk beter wees, in hierdie geval ten minste, om te praat van “die pad van gedissiplineerde genade” (Foster, 1989 (Eerste uitgawe: 1980)). Dit is genade omdat dit gratis is; dit is gedissiplineerd omdat daar iets is wat ons moet doen. Dietrich Bonhoeffer het, in “The Cost of Discipleship”, geskryf dat genade gratis is, maar nie goedkoop is nie. Die genade van God is onverdiend, en dit kan nooit verdien word nie. Indien ons egter wil groei in genade, moet ons die prys betaal van ‘n bewustelik gekose aksieplan wat individuele lewe én groepslewe insluit. Geestelike groei is die doel van die Dissiplines. (Foster, 1989 (Eerste uitgawe: 1980))

In die volgende bespreking, sal ons kyk na die uitwerking van die Dissiplines.

“Celebration of Discipline”: Introduction – The Spiritual Disciplines Opens the Door


As soon as we despair of gaining inner transformation through human powers of will and determination, we become open to a new realisation: Inner righteousness is a gift from God that are to be graciously received. The needed change within us is then not our job after all… It is God’s work! Only God can do a job inside of us, so that we are changed from the inside out. We cannot earn this righteousness of the kingdom of God. It is a grace that is given to us. (Foster, 1989 (First edition: 1980))

Paul explains in Romans that righteousness is a gift of God. He uses this term 35 times in the epistle of Romans. Each time he uses it, he insists that it is unattained and unattainable through human effort. This is a teaching that is found throughout Scripture, and not only in Romans. At is one of the cornerstones of the Christian faith. (Foster, 1989 (First edition: 1980))

When we truly grasp this truth, we are in danger to think into another wrong way. We become tempted to believe that there is nothing that we can do. If all human strivings end in moral bankruptcy, and if righteousness is a gracious gift from God, it becomes logical to conclude that we must wait for God to come and transform us. “The analysis is correct – striving is insufficient and righteousness is a gift from God – but the conclusion is faulty.” There is something we can do. God has given us the Spiritual Disciplines as a way of receiving His grace. “The Disciplines allow us to place ourselves before God so that He can transform us.” (Foster, 1989 (First edition: 1980))

In Galatians 6:8, Paul writes the following: “The one who sows to please his human nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” Paul uses an analogy about a farmer. A farmer can’t grow grain. He can only provide the right conditions for the growing of grain. He can cultivate the ground. He plants the seed. He waters the plants. After all of this, the natural forces of the earth takes over, so that the grain will grow. It is the same way with Spiritual Disciplines. In a way, Spiritual Disciplines are a way of sowing to the Spirit. The Disciplines are God’s way of getting us into the ground – they put us in a place where He can work within us and transform us. The Spiritual Disciplines can do nothing by itself. They can only get us to the place where something can be done. They are God’s way of giving grace. The inner righteousness we seek, is not something that is poured into our heads. God has ordained the Spiritual Disciplines as the way in which we place ourselves where He can bless us. (Foster, 1989 (First edition: 1980))

It would be better then, at least in this regard, to talk about “the path of disciplined grace” (Foster, 1989 (First edition: 1980)). It is grace, because it is free; it is disciplined, because there is something that we have to do. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, in “The Cost of Discipleship”, that grace is free, but not cheap. The grace of God is unearned, and it can never be earned. If we expect to grow in grace, though, we must pay the price of a consciously chosen course of action which involves individual as well as group life. “Spiritual growth is the purpose of the Disciplines.” (Foster, 1989 (First edition: 1980))

In the next instalment, we will see the effects of the Disciplines.

30 boeke wat ek graag wil lees… (eerste aanpassing…)


1. Long Walk to Freedom – Nelson Mandela

2. Where is God when it hurts? – Philip Yancey

3. Star Trek: Insurrection – J.M. Dillard

4. Jerusalem’s Heart – Bodie & Brock Thoene

5. Celebration of Discipline – Richard Foster (This book will be on the list for a while, because I am doing a study on it)

6. Contemplative Youth Ministry – Mark Yaconelli (This book will be on the list for a while, because I am doning a study on it)

7. Jesus – ‘n Radikale Sprong – Stephan Joubert

8. Static – Ron Martoia

9. Tactics – Fred Stoker with Mike Yorkey

10. Fokus op Strategiese Leierskap – Andy Stanley

11. Architects of Poverty – Moeletsi Mbeki

12. The Meaning of Friendship – Mark Vernon

13. The Love Dare – Fireproof Writers

14. Jim & Casper go to Church – Jim Henderson & Matt Casper

15. Everything must change – Brian D. McLaren

16. The Forgotten Ways – Alan Hirsch

17. Net soos Jesus – Max Lucado

18. Wanneer God jou naam fluister – Max Lucado

19. In die Huis van my Vader – Max Lucado

20. When you need a miracle – Lloyd John Ogilvie

21. In die Greep van Genade – Max Lucado

22. God juig oor jou – Max Lucado

23. Star Trek Voyager #4: Violations – Susan Wright

24. Money, Sex and Power – Richard Foster

25. Cupidity – Hayley & Michael DiMarco

26. Prayers from the Heart – Richard Foster

27. Star Trek Deep Space Nine #26: Rebels #3 – Daffyd ab Hugh

28. Social Intelligence – Daniel Goleman

29. Emotional Intelligence – Daniel Goleman

30. Discover your Spiritual Type – Corinne Ware

“Celebration of Discipline”: Inleiding – Slawerny van geïntegreerde gewoontes


Ons is so gewoond daaraan om te dink aan sonde as individuele aksies van ongehoorsaamheid aan God. Dit is egter net gedeeltelik waar; die Bybel gaan egter veel verder as dit. (Foster, 1989 (Eerste uitgawe: 1980))

In Romeine beskryf Paulus sondes gereeld as ‘n toestand wat die menslike ras plaag (‘n voorbeeld hiervan word gevind in Romeine 3:9-18). Sonde as ‘n toestand werk tot in die “liggaamlike dele” – die geïntegreerde gewoontes van die liggaam (sien Romeine 7:5) (hierdie “liggaamlike dele” is ‘n vrylike vertaling uit sommige Engelse vertalings. In die Afrikaanse vertaling word daar gepraat van die “sondige lewensbestaan” en die “sondige hartstogte” wat in ons lewens bestaan het). Daar is geen slawerny wat vergelyk kan word met die slawerny van geïntegreerde gewoontes van sondes nie. (Foster, 1989 (Eerste uitgawe: 1980))

In Jesaja 57:20 (1983 Vertaling) lees ons die volgende: “Maar die goddeloses is soos die ontstuimige see wat nie tot rus kan kom nie en waarvan die golwe aanhou om slyk en modder uit te stoot” Die see tree op ‘n natuurlike wyse op wanneer dit slyk en modder uit stoot; daar is niks spesiaal nodig om dit te doen nie. Dit is ook waar van ons as ons onder die toestand van sonde is. Die natuurlike bewegings van ons lewens is om slyk en modder voort te bring wanneer ons onder die toestand van sonde verkeer. Sonde is dan deel van die interne struktuur van ons lewens. Geen spesiale poging is nodig om dit voort te bring nie. Dit is dan nie verbasend dat ons vasgevang voel nie! (Foster, 1989 (Eerste uitgawe: 1980))

Die “normale” manier waarop ons hierdie geïtegreerde sonde probeer hanteer, is om ‘n frontale aanval te loods. Ons maak staat op wilskrag en determinasie. Ons neem ons voor om nooit weer dit te doen wat ons beleef as ‘n problee – woede, vrees, bitterheid, vraatsug, trots, wellus, dwelmmisbruik – nie. Ons bid daarteen, ons veg daarteen, en ons stel ons wil daarteen. Die stryd is egter verniet. Weereens bevind ons onsself moreel bankrot. Soms vind ons dat ons so trots is op ons eksterne geregtigheid, dat “wit grafte” ‘n ligte beskrywing is vir ons toestand. (Foster, 1989 (Eerste uitgawe: 1980))

Heini Arnold het op ‘n stadium die volgende geskryf: “We … want to make it quite clear that we cannot free and purify our own heart by exerting our own ‘will’.” (Foster het hierdie aangehaal uit sy boek “Freedom from Sinful Thoughts: Christ Alone Breaks the Curse”) (Vrylik vertaal: Ons wild it duidelik stel dat ons nie ons eie hart kan bevry en reinig deur wilskrag te beoefen nie).

In Kolossense 2:20-23 (1983 Vertaling) gee Paulus ‘n lys van uiterlike vorme wat mense doen om sonde te beheer: “‘Hieraan mag jy nie vat nie!’ ‘Daaraan mag jy jou mond nie sit nie!’ ‘Daaraan mag jy nie raak nie!’”. Hy voeg by dat hierdie leerstellings wel “‘n skyn van wysheid het met hulle selfgemaakte godsdiens”. Foster beskryf die laaste deel as “will worship” (die Engelse term klink beter as enige Afrikaanse term). “Will worship” (vrylik vertaal as “wilskrag-aanbidding”)is ‘n baie beskrywende frase vir die meeste van ons se lewens. Die oomblik wat ons dink of voel dat ons suksesvol kan wees en oorwinning oor ons sondes kan behaal deur ons wilskrag alleen, is die oomblik wat ons ons wilskrag aanbid. Dit is ironies dat Paulus ons mees strawwe pogings in die geestelike pad “afgodery” en “will worship” noem. (Foster, 1989 (Eerste uitgawe: 1980))

Ons moet besef dat wilskrag nooit suksesvol sal wees om die diep geïntegreerde gewoontes van sonde te hanteer nie.

Emmet Fox het op ‘n stadium geskryf: “As soon as you resist mentally any undesirable or unwanted circumstance, you thereby endow it with more power – power which it will use against you, and you will have depleted your own resources to that exact extent.” Heini Arnold het ook die volgende gesktyf: “As long as we think we can save ourselves by our own will power, we will only make the evil in us stronger than ever.” (Foster het hierdie twee aanhalings geneem uit die boek “Freedom from Sinful Thoughts: Christ Alone Breaks the Curse”). Baie van die noemenswaardige skrywers, insluitende St. Augustine, St. Francis van Asissi, Johannes Calvyn en John Wesley het hierdie selfde waarheid beleef. (Foster, 1989 (Eerste uitgawe: 1980))

“Wilskrag-aanbidding” kan dalk vir ‘n tydperk suksesvol lyk – ten minste in die uiterlike voorkoms. In die krake van ons lewens sal ons diep innerlike toestand egter uiteindelik geopenbaar word. In Matteus 12:34-36, beskryf Jesus hierdie toestand, wanneer Hy praat van die uiterlike geregtigheid van die Fariseërs. “Waar die hart van vol is, loop die mond van oor. … Dit sê Ek vir julle: Van elke ligsinnige woord wat die mens sê, sal hulle rekenskap moet gee op die oordeelsdag.”. Deur pure wilskrag kan mense ‘n goeie skyn gee vir ‘n ruk lank. Vroeër of later sal daar egter ‘n onbeheersde oomblik wees, wanneer die sorglose woord sal uitglip, om die ware toestand van die hart te wys. (Foster, 1989 (Eerste uitgawe: 1980))

In die volgende inskrywing, gaan ons sien hoe die Geestelike Dissiplines ons ontvanklik maak vir die regverdigheid van God. Daar is twee gevare waarteen ons moet waak, en ons sal daarna kyk in die volgende inskrywing.

“Celebration of Discipline”: Introduction – Slavery of ingrained habits


We are so used to thinking about sin as individual acts of disobedience to God. This is only partly true; the Bible goes much further than that, though. (Foster, 1989 (First edition: 1980))

In Romans, Paul regularly describes sin as a condition that plagues the human race (an example of this is found in Romans 3:9-18). Sin as a condition works its way through the “bodily members” – the ingrained habits of the body (see Romans 7:5) (the NIV and some other translations talks about the “sinful nature” and the “sinful passions” that are at work in our bodies). There is no slavery that can compare to the slavery of ingrained habits of sin. (Foster, 1989 (First edition: 1980))

In Isaiah 57:20 (NIV) we read the following: “But the wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud.” The sea acts in a natural way if it produce mire and mud; it doesn’t need to do anything special to do it. This is also true of us when we are under the condition of sin. The natural motions of our lives produce mire and mud when we are under the condition of sin. Sin is then part of the internal structure of our lives. No special effort is needed to produce it. It is little wonder, then, that we feel trapped! (Foster, 1989 (First edition: 1980))

The “normal” way that we try and deal with ingrained sin, is to launch ‘n frontal attack. We rely on our willpower and determination. Whatever it is that we are experiencing as an issue – anger, fear, bitterness, gluttony, pride, lust, substance abuse – we determine never to do it again. We pray against it, fight against it and set our will against it. The struggle is all in vain, though. So, once again, we find ourselves morally bankrupt. Sometimes we find ourselves so pride of our external righteousness, that “whitened sepulchres” is a mild description for our condition. (Foster, 1989 (First edition: 1980))

Heini Arnold once wrote: “We … want to make it quite clear that we cannot free and purify our own heart by exerting our own ‘will’.” (Foster quoted this from the book “Freedom from Sinful Thoughts: Christ Alone Breaks the Curse”).

In Colossians 2:20-23 (NIV), Paul gives a list of some outward forms that people use to control sin: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”. He adds that these things “have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship,”. Foster states the last part, “will worship”. “Will worship” is a very descriptive phrase for much of our lives. The moment that we think or feel we can succeed and attain victory over sin, by the strength of our will alone, is the moment that we are worshipping the will. It’s quite ironic that Paul calls our most strenuous efforts in the spiritual walk “idolatry” and “will worship”. (Foster, 1989 (First edition: 1980))

We have to realize that will power will never succeed is dealing with the deeply ingrained habits of sin.

Emmet Fox once wrote: “As soon as you resist mentally any undesirable or unwanted circumstance, you thereby endow it with more power – power which it will use against you, and you will have depleted your own resources to that exact extent.” Heini Arnold also wrote the following: “As long as we think we can save ourselves by our own will power, we will only make the evil in us stronger than ever.” (Foster quoted these two quotes from the book “Freedom from Sinful Thoughts: Christ Alone Breaks the Curse”). Many of the great writers, including St. Augustine, St. Francis of Asissi, John Calvin and John Wesley experienced this same truth. (Foster, 1989 (First edition: 1980))

“Will worship” may look like a success for a time, at least in the outward appearance, but in the cracks of our lives our deep inner condition will eventually be revealed. In Matthew 12:34-36 Jesus describes this condition when He speaks of the external righteousness of the Pharisees. “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. … But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgement for every careless word they have spoken.”. By sheer will people can make a good showing for a while. But sooner or later there will come an unguarded moment, when the “careless word” will slip out to reveal the true condition of the heart. (Foster, 1989 (First edition: 1980))

In the next instalment, we will see how the Spiritual Disciplines opens us up to receiving the righteousness of God. There are to dangers that we have to guard against, and we will look at that in the next instalment.