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In the Gates

Passive Disciplines

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

God is actively involved in disciplining His people.


For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 13.3

God knows that active disciplines alone will not be sufficient to lead us into the knowledge of God and the enjoyment of His promises. We are, after all, sinners, and are naturally disposed to turn away from the Lord. We take up the active spiritual disciplines with all the best intentions; nevertheless, we can expect that we shall stumble and fall and be neglectful of these good gifts, simply because, though redeemed, we are still sinners.

Thus the Lord Himself is actively involved in disciplining us to seek and know Him. We experience the Lord’s active discipline as passive spiritual disciplines. These come to us at God’s pleasure, according to our need. Passive spiritual disciplines are not necessarily pleasant; we would not sign up for these if we could avoid them (Heb. 12.3-11).

But God sends them to us – temptations, trials, deprivation, persecution, loss, and more – in order to strengthen our souls to fear and love Him more. At times these come to us because we have provoked this displeasure of the Lord by failing to obey Him. At other times it pleases Him to send them simply because He knows something about our souls that we do not.

Both active and passive spiritual disciplines are necessary if we are to grow in our vision of God and in gaining His promises.

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. Here is a bit more insight from T. M. on the nature of and need for passive spiritual discipline.

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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