From Our Senior Pastor
 
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I’ve been reading this interesting book by Donald Whitney (Professor of Biblical Spirituality at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) entitled, 10 Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health. Whitney’s challenge to us all is to consider if we are spiritually healthy, or simply spiritually busy.
 
At this time of year when so many are tidying up their homes, working in their yards, preparing for summer, planning for vacations and so forth, wouldn’t it be great if we took some time for some spiritual “spring cleaning” as well? And in all of our business and activity – even ‘religious’ or church activity, it’s always good to pause and consider what is fruitful and what isn’t. As we take time to evaluate ourselves, we may find the challenge and opportunity to grow.
 
Here are the first 5 of Dr. Whitney’s 10 questions: (We’ll consider the final 5 next month.)
 
1. Do you thirst for God?
 
Whitney writes, “Has your worship or devotional experience lately provided you with ravishing tastes of the ‘piercing sweetness of Christ’, only to leave you with a divine discontent that desires more?
 
To taste of God and to want even more is a sign of a growing soul.
 
How do we cultivate this hunger? Meditate on scripture. Read it. Consider it. Ask questions of it. Pray about it. Journal or write about it. Memorize it. Linger over it. Look for ways to apply it. And read good writers who make you thirst for more of the Word. 
 
2. Are you governed increasingly by God’s Word?
 
Quoting John Piper, Whitney writes, “Loving the truth is a matter of perishing or being saved. Indifference to the truth is a mark of spiritual death.” If we are content with sporadic or seldom interactions with scripture, that should be a huge warning sign to us about the condition of our soul. 
 
Whitney challenges us to train ourselves to ask this question: “How does the bible speak to this?”, and then respond accordingly. 
 
So, make time for the Word. Whitney says don’t close your Bible until you know at least one thing God wants you to do in response to what you’ve read. 
 
3. Are you more loving?
 
If love is the clearest mark of a Christian according to Jesus, how am I doing?  
 
Whitney writes, “The more satisfaction and delight we find in His love, the more we delight in loving others. The more enjoyment we find in God, the more we enjoy being truly like Him by loving others.”
 
How are you loving the church? The lost? Your family? 
 
And if you find you are not as loving as you ought to be, meditate on God’s love for you in Scripture and begin to take the initiative to love, whether you “feel like it” or not. Emotions follow obedience.
 
4. Are you more sensitive to God’s presence?
 
Rather than a mystical experience or “atmospheric” sense of God’s presence, Whitney challenges us to consider if we pause long enough in His Word, focus long enough in worship, delight long enough in prayer, and reaffirm often enough the promise of His presence until we sense Him and see Him at work all around us.
 
If you struggle in this area, pray. Ask God to reveal Himself to you in scripture, in prayer, in worship, and in ministry and service.
 
5. Do you have a growing concern for the spiritual and temporal needs of others?
 
Whitney says, “The perceptive eye and the helping hand are birthmarks of the born again in Christ. Concern for others is as much a part of being a Christian as concern for self is for the non-Christian.”
 
A Christian ought to have “dual concerns” for those around them: Concern that those around hear the Gospel, but also concern for their good. The mark of a maturing believer is that we begin to see what Jesus sees and begin to respond as Jesus would respond. 
 
So, ask God to open your eyes. And remember, you don’t have to look hard to find hurts and needs all around you. Behind every door in every home is a need or a hurt. Ask God to use you to make a difference.
 
May God do a work of revitalization in each of us as we honestly evaluate ourselves in light of His Word and empowered by His Spirit, and may we respond obediently to what He shows us!
 
For His Glory,
 
Pastor Paul