Spiritual disciplines and spiritual practices have become quite familiar in my vocabulary since coming to Fuller Seminary. In the book Streams of Living Water by Richard J. Foster he elaborates on six essential practices for Christians to experience a fuller life with Jesus Christ. However, they are not items in which are rooted in a fluffy idea or a new concept to market to the uber-spirtual. They are traditions, which are founded in Christ then observed and compared to others throughout history. Foster also holds these traditions with biblical truths. His integration of the Trinity is a breath of fresh air and is encouraging to find a book, which is grounded in history, the bible, and the work of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.
In the first chapter Foster is setting up the format of where the book is going. He forms a clear outline for the remaining chapters of the book. Communicating a brief synopsis of what to expect. His writing style is easy and smooth incorporating scholarly points as well as careful reflection of what the Spirit is doing in these practices.
The second chapter launches into the body of the book by talking about the contemplative life. Which is a life that is bathed in prayer. At the beginning of the chapter he shows the history of the more important individuals who have helped shaped our understanding and growth in prayer. This level of intimacy with God is shown by the intimacy that was experienced by Jesus disciple John. The careful dissection of John’s life with Jesus is an excellent model of how John’s life was transformed by living in such close relation with Jesus. The contemplative tradition is nothing with out love. This has been a great reminder that if we are not in love with God then how are we going to ever be able to talk to him? It is so apparent that our baggage gets in the way of our relationship with Jesus and that we often are sidetracked by our lives and discouragements pulling us out of prayer with God therefore leaving us feeling as if we are not close to him at all. The contemplative tradition is vital for the Christian life to flourish.
Holiness is something that is often overlooked in our culture today. In the third chapter Foster talks about how important a Holy life style is crucial for our Christian faith. He gives great examples on the holy lifestyle is not about perfection but about being transformed into wholeness with Christ. Holiness is about the transformation of the heart not the perfection of ones life in their works. Holiness has been misconstrued in our culture. Instead of embracing the lifestyle and practice it seems that we have moved to the other side giving more grace but not pushing others to get back on track with their walk with the Lord. Foster stresses throughout the chapter Holiness is not about perfection and tries to embrace our imperfection but striving for something more than what we could ever imagine for our lives.


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