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In the Gates

The Source of Spiritual Disciplines

The Worldview of God’s Law: Spiritual Discipline (1)

Even the discipline we need is an act of God’s grace.


Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight.” Exodus 33.13

Where would the people of Israel learn the disciplines necessary to enable them to overcome their sinful inclinations and keep focused on God and His vision for them? They were not to invent practices that seemed like good ideas to them. The incident of the golden calf, followed by the tragedy of Aaron’s sons would have made that abundantly clear. Nor were they to borrow ideas from the surrounding pagan nations. Indeed, God insisted that they must not seek or worship Him like the pagans did, for their ways were abominable to Him.

So what should they do? Where should they look? If they could not rely on their own best thinking and were forbidden from borrowing practices from unbelieving peoples, how would they know how to seek the Lord and gain His promises?

Moses understood. If you need something in order to do what God has required of you, go to Him to get it. God would explain to His people everything they needed to know and do in order to enter His glory and achieve His promises. All they had to do was listen to Him and do what He said.

This may seem obvious; however, it was not at all obvious to Israel, recently delivered from slavery. And apparently it’s not all that obvious to many believers today, given the sad state of the practice of spiritual disciplines in the lives of so many of the followers of Christ. We have some sense that we should be doing something to get to know the Lord, but have we really sought out God’s will for our disciplines, as He makes it plain in His Word?

Spiritual disciplines are indispensable to knowing the Lord and gaining His promises. But we must apply ourselves only to those disciplines which God has shown us, and to all the disciplines He has provided, in just the way He intends for us to use them. Then the blessings of His Covenant will begin to be ours with greater consistency and power.

For a more complete exposition of the promises of God, order a copy of T. M.’s book, I Will Be Your God, from our online store. How does Jesus use spiritual disciplines in our lives? Read T. M.’s article, “Living Water,” to learn more.


T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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