As believers, we often fall prey to the assumption that those who are busiest, are most spiritual. We look at the people in our churches who are involved in all the committees and are at every meeting and assume that they are the ones with the greatest measure of spiritual health. But do you think that is the measure God uses? Or does he have a different set of criteria by which He judges spiritual health? This short but powerful book examines the Bible’s teaching on this matter.
As one might expect by the title, Ten Questions To Diagnose Your Spiritual Health, this book presents the reader with ten criteria that can point towards spiritual health. The crux of the matter, the theme that flows throughout the book, is this: is your character becoming more like Christ’s? Here are the ten questions the reader faces:
- Do you thirst for God?
- Are you governed increasingly by God’s Word?
- Are you more loving?
- Are you more sensitive to God’s presence?
- Do you have a growing concern for the spiritual and temporal needs of others?
- Do you delight in the bride of Christ?
- Are the spiritual disciplines increasingly important to you?
- Do you still grieve over sin?
- Are you a quicker forgiver?
- Do you yearn for heaven and to be with Jesus?
Each of the questions is approached and evaluated in the light of Scripture and in a way consistent with Reformed theology. In the introduction Whitney writes “In our day, as in theirs [the Puritans], the timeless process of discerning one’s spiritual health involves questions and tests. My purpose in writing these pages is to act as a physician of the soul – to ask questions and suggest spiritual tests that can, by the help of the Holy Spirit, enable you to self-diagnose your spiritual health.” This book bears a great resemblance to the writing of the Puritans in the sense that they were continually searching their hearts before God to discern where sin had taken hold of their lives. Their honesty and diligence in this matter was clearly influential in Whitney’s writing.
There are a couple of places where the author could have taken a misstep but did not. When I saw that a chapter was dedicated to sensitivity to God’s presence I began to wonder how the author would approach this topic, and was glad to see that it bore no resemblance to the practices of Brother Lawrence and the other mystics that are so popular today. Instead he introduces the six ways we should understand the Bible’s teaching on God’s presence and how the believer is to practice them.
Far from being yet another self-help or an easy-answer, ten-step book, this one is deep and penetrating. Reading this book and meditating on the questions will be sure to move believers towards a deeper relationship with Jesus. I highly recommend it!