Four Challenges Of 2023

Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed (Romans 13:11, ESV).

One of the most influential books in my life is Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster.

Recently I read a small pamphlet by Foster in which he outlined four challenges that we face today.  

I thought he had great insight in this booklet, so I’m using him as a guest Interrupter today. He doesn’t know this. I didn’t think that I would be able to contact him to ask, but I don’t think he would mind me sharing his four challenges that we confront today.

(If you see Richard Foster, please tell him that I’m a nice guy and that I always have the best intentions with Interruptions!)

The Four Challenges That We Face Today by Richard Foster …

  1. Our Technological Revolution

Back when I wrote Celebration of Discipline, “cookies” were for eating, and having a “virus” meant we were sick.

Today, technology creates a challenge that can be summed in one word – distraction.

Distraction is the primary spiritual problem in today’s culture. When we are perpetually distracted, we are unable to discern the voice of the Lord.

Neuroscience studies are now showing us that the neural pathways of our brains are being rewired so that the physical capacity for sustained attention is decreasing!

  1. Loss of a Christian Consciousness

Church life – its story and its culture – is now lost to vast numbers of people.

Those who will work in spiritual formation cannot be concerned with the ABCs of church success (Attendance, Buildings, and Cash). Our focus must be on the growth of the soul.

And this can be done anywhere and under any circumstance! Indeed, it is best done smack in the middle of the trials and tribulations of ordinary life.

  1. Living in Dark Times

We must prepare to live courageously through dark times.

Our society now sees evangelicals as hypocrites. And too often, we deserve this critique. We may be witnessing the emergence of a new dark age. So, we need to learn to sing the Lord’s song in a strange land!

  1. Narcissism is the Spirit of the Age

Narcissism is unique to our age.

It is in the very air that we breathe. This is extreme self-centeredness; this is total self-absorption; this is an exaggerated sense of entitlement; and this is utter self-obsession.

As you know, narcissism comes from Greek mythology, where Narcissus fell in love with his own image.

We must simply knock the spirit of narcissism in the head.

Let’s ask God that we be torn from all our earthly attachments and ambitions. That our longing for prominence, power, and social recognition be crucified. Let’s begin living without guile.

And just as we become detached from the world, God will hurl us back into the world. But then spirwe will be able to share the love of Christ without hidden agenda and be willing to empty ourselves for the benefit of others.

Thank you, Richard Foster, for this understanding and challenge needed for spiritual victory in 2023!

The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light (Romans 13:12, ESV).

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