Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health, by Donald S. Whitney is a book that I frankly cannot remember exactly how I came to possess. I can say that it is the first book that I read on my recently acquired Kindle which was a gift. (Imagine having the blessing of serving as your son’s Best Man in his wedding and getting a present on top of that!) Thanks, Ross, I am loving the Kindle. Irrespective of how I got this book, I am glad that I did. But that needs to be clarified a bit. Because about a third or so of the way through the book, I was not so certain.
This book is not new. Its copyright is dated 2001. The author, Don Whitney, is a pastor and seminary professor in the Southern Baptist tradition although it was clear to me that his is a Reformed Baptist background. He attended Law School for a time at the University of Arkansas before following a call to the ministry.
As the title suggests, Whitney poses 10 questions that any believer ought to be asking him/herself to diagnose their spiritual health. Those 10 questions, which also serve as the chapter headings, are:
- 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?
At the outset of this review, I mentioned that for the first third or so of the book, I was finding that there was nothing particularly challenging in what I was reading. That ought to have been a cue to me that my pride and arrogance was getting in the way of very useful instruction. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit gave me a good nudge because while the book is not a difficult read, nor is it particularly long (141 pages in the paperback version) it really is gently packed with some extraordinarily penetrating challenges, provided you are willing to accept the examination of your spiritual health. Many of the answers I had to these questions were not ones I like, so the real benefit to this book will be not the questions, but rather the response I have to the answers.
Just as we ought to respond in serious ways to the make the changes in our physical lives when we our doctors diagnose that we are gaining a bit too much weight and need a combination of changes in our diets and exercise regimine, there ought to be a serious response to the results of our spiritual diagnosis that flows from Whitney’s 10 questions. Therein will be the benefit as we realize the benefits of our Progressive Sanctification.
While I read this book individually, I suspect that it could be useful for paired, or small group study, particularly in the context of the formation of accountability.
Definitely a book worth reading.