The Spiritual Practice of Celebration

Over the last few weeks, I have been blogging about the practice of spiritual disciplines. Today, I want to talk about the lesser known discipline called “celebration.” As Dallas Willard stated, “We engage in celebration when we enjoy ourselves, our life, our world, in conjunction with our faith and confidence in God’s greatness, beauty and goodness.” Celebrating doesn’t sound like a discipline, but it is.

It’s a practice we need to train ourselves to do, especially in a culture that is often devoid of true, pure joy and gratitude. In fact, we are commanded to be joyful (see Philippians 4:4 and 1 Thessalonians 5:16). And we’re commanded to be thankful (see 1 Thessalonians 5:18). So, in other words, joy and gratitude is your responsibility. So, how can be come more joyful and thankful? Through the spiritual discipline of celebration: dwelling on the greatness of God as shown in His goodness to us.

So, we should make a conscious effort to celebrate God’s goodness to us. We should make a choice to celebrate…whether we feel like it our not. Let me mention a few practical ways we can practice the discipline of celebration.

  • Count your blessings. Write down how God has been good to you.

  • Slow down to consider what you have to be thankful for. Too often, we are simply so busy and distracted that we take for granted the blessings of life.

  • Think of the “little things” in life you have to be thankful for…such as a beautiful sunset, a hot shower, a good cup of coffee in the morning, or laughing with your family.

  • Share a time of joy and celebration over family dinner. Ask each family member about something that happened that day in which they could see the hand or blessing of God.

  • When you’re tempted to despair or be anxious, choose joy. Choose to pray about your worries, cast your cares to Jesus, and allow the joy of the Lord to be your strength.

The Irish band Rend Collective created an exuberant video which extols the importance of celebrating. In it, band leader Gareth Gilkeson explains,

“Joy is a spiritual discipline. We as a people are much more inclined toward negativity and cynicism. We don’t find it easy or natural to pursue joy. And that’s why God in His Word actually command us to celebrate. We come by a Gospel worth celebrating before a celebrating king. We need to get down to the serious business of joy. We must wrestle for our blessing. We must fight for our joy.”

Church, be disciplined, and fight for your joy!

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