Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health by Donald S. Whitney, Navpress, 2001, 140 pp.
After finding his writings so helpful in my own spiritual development, I decided a couple of months ago that it would be wise to purchase and read all of Donald Whitney’s books. All of his books could fall under the category of “Biblical Spirituality.” In truth, he is articulating the golden instruction of Puritan biblical teaching in how to grow in grace through the disciplined use of the means God has prescribed in His Word. His illustrations from church history, occasional references to small town southern living (he’s from Osceola, AR, right across the River from me), and wisdom from fifteen-plus years of pastoral ministry all resonate particularly deeply with me. Clearly, I am a big fan, and several members of my church have expressed their appreciation of his Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life as well, which we have been working through in reading groups.
Last week I completed Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health, a 140 page but profound examination of the soul. From the introduction: “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.” (13) The ten questions comprise the ten chapters, and include such soul-searching questions as, “Do you still grieve over sin?” and “Are you increasingly governed by God’s Word?” To read a free sample chapter, ‘Do you thirst for God?”, click here. I found it very manageable to read one chapter in the mornings along with my personal Bible reading, and never failed to be edified.
The application for pastoral ministry is obvious. As physicians of the souls of our people, these are just the sorts of questions we should be leading them through. This could be accomplished by recommending the book, of course, but also in our private conversations. In my short experience, I have already found the questions of “Are you a quicker forgiver?” and “Do you delight in the bride of Christ?” to be essential questions to be unpacked in sermons, discipleship, and even in personal evangelism. I would be very interested to know how Dr. Whitney has used these questions in his own pastoral ministry. I highly recommend this book for pastors, for church book studies, for individual Christians. I intend to refer back to it often.