Is your faith passive or active? Let me help you figure that out.
Passive faith is about waiting. About patience. About holding on when things get tough. It’s about keeping your head above water. Passive faith is about receiving the strength and whatever else you need to live your life as it currently stands. It’s about resting in the goodness of the status quo or making it incrementally better.
- “God, I trust you with this new position.”
- “Father, please allow Sarah to get home safely.”
- “Jesus, give me strength to get through this day.”
- “Father, help me keep my eyes on you.”
- “Spirit of God, please, help Mary’s dad during this difficult time.”
- “Lord, please grant me patience. The waiting is killing me.”
These are beautiful, biblical prayers. But they’re also passive prayers.
If passive faith is about waiting, active faith is about risking. It’s about stepping into the unknown to try something new. It’s about saying things that could get you in trouble, doing things that will change the trajectory of your day, your week, your life. Active faith is about snapping free of the safety net of the status quo to partner with God in deliberate kingdom building. Passive faith gets us through; active faith makes a change.
- “Father, please give me the words I need to say as I share my faith with Rick.”
- “In the name of Jesus, pain be gone!”
- “Jesus, show me where to give this stack of twenty dollar bills.”
- “Lord, heal me of this porn addiction.”
But then active faith stops being about “mere” prayer and becomes God-borne actions:
- “Hey, Rick, it’s me. Wanna go for coffee?”
- You step out and say, “Excuse me, may I pray for you?”
- You slip the envelope of twenties into a needy friend’s purse when they’re not looking.
- You confess your porn addiction to a friend and get help. And then…
When active faith is in play, our spiritual life thrives.
Passive faith, active faith
In reality, we need both kinds of faith. A good chunk of life really is about waiting and trusting. The problem is, we default to passive faith because it feels like the most pressing. “I can’t even see straight, with the kids and work and yada yada and you want me to reach out to my neighbours? Are you kidding me?”
Has it ever occurred to you that one of the reasons you can’t see straight is that your faith needs action to survive? That getting sucked into something bigger than yourself is just what the doctor ordered?
That “oh yeah” you just felt is real. Go with it. Geeks, we know action is the key. It’s why we love fantasy, love epics, love gaming, love sic-fi. We love the thrill of risk.
It’s time to live the risk instead of just watching it. Don’t let your media inoculate you against active faith. Let your geek-hood stir you up into it.
Because I think deep down, we’d rather be scared spitless than bored silly.
Interesting thoughts. I found this after reading an article about how people such as I, an engineer, who over-analyze things. http://www.celebratekids.com/lessons-furnace-logic-smart-tale/
It had an unclear conclusion, but seemed to say that we shouldn’t be as active in trying to plan how to fix things ourselves and trust in God to show us what to do. A message of passivity is hard to accept from someone with a doctorate who, by definition, has devoted many years of life actively improving their own capabilities and knowledge.