In reading "The Spirit of the Disciplines" by Dallas Willard, I’m in the chapter dealing with various disciplines. They are generally divided up into one of two categories: Disciplines of abstinence and disciplines of engagement. Abstinence would pertain to disciplines such as fasting, solitude, silence, frugality, chastity, secrecy, sacrifice and the disciplines of engagement would include study, prayer, worship, service, fellowship, celebration, confession, and submission.
When reading of the discipline of celebration, did you know that God wants us to party and celebrate as long as it is "in conjunction with our faith and confidence in God’s greatness, beauty, and goodness" Willard states.
So you’re saying, "really? OK, where does the boozin’ come in?" Whoa, NELLIE! Tap on the brakes, but not too hard.
We see in Deuteronomy 14 the instructions regarding what to do with their "tithe". There tithe was primarily made up of produce, and they were to gather it up and carry it to the city (Jerusalem), for a big party! That’s right! A party! A celebration of their King (Yahweh, God).
The problem for some people, was that they lived way too far from the city and had too much to carry, which brings us to these instructions found in verse 25: "then you may turn it into money. With the money secure in hand, go to the place where the Lord your God will choose; 26 spend the money for whatever you wish – oxen, sheep, wine, strong drink, or whatever you desire. And you shall eat there in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your household rejoicing together.
Now, I didn’t say all that to say "get drunk in Jesus’ name". The strong drink is not the point, but the "Celebration" is! In America, God has blessed us materially although we think we earned it by our own effort and sweat. Last time I checked, we didn’t get to choose which country to be born in, or to which parents, etc.
No matter how we come to our "riches", God is the sole provider for all we have. God doesn’t want Christians in America to sell all their possessions and start following Him. I believe he wants us to follow Him in spite of our wealth, and to reach others for him with the help of our wealth and blessings!
Look in verse 23 of chapter 14, "that thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God always." That’s the Point of celebration!
I was thinking, "how can celebration and partying be a discipline when my flesh loves doing it so much"?
Maybe the discipline is not in the celebration but in the recognition of WHO we celebrate and WHY.