“Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 3:18
When a man or woman goes to their doctor for a physical, inevitably they must answer a series of diagnostic questions: “Any unusual pains? Any shortness of breath? What are your sleep patterns? Any change in diet?” These questions form the basis of the doctor’s assessment of your physical health. In like manner, a pastor could act as a “physician of the soul” by asking similar diagnostic questions in the spiritual realm. As with the physical check-up, the accuracy of the spiritual diagnosis depends on the honesty and accuracy of the person’s answers to these questions!
Don Whitney has given pastors (and indeed, all individual Christians) a wonderful gift in a book entitled, Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health. The following are the ten questions Whitney recommends:
- 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 (the church)?
- Are the spiritual disciplines (prayer, Bible reading, worship, fasting, service, church attendance, etc.) 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?
Many of these diagnostic questions have to do with the true desires of your heart… what you love, what you long for; as well as what you hate and long to be rid of. Thus our Christian faith is a matter of the transformation of the heart. When Christ comes into your heart, He causes within you a deep love for God and for His word that transforms everything you live for. Notice that perfection is not a requirement for spiritual health. Rather, spiritual health is a yearning for holiness coupled with a hatred of sin; this is what characterizes the heart of the true Christian. Notice also that many of these diagnostic questions involve a principle of growth, of constant change. “Are you more _______ than you were before?” This is also a mark of the true Christian… for being a Christian means being alive, and being alive means growth.
"Thus our Christian faith is a matter of the transformation of the heart."
If you answered “No” to many of these questions, it does not necessarily mean that you are not truly a Christian. But it may mean that you have stopped growing and are no longer spiritually healthy. If so, now is the time to repent and come back quickly to Christ and to your First Love! May God use this to bless you in Christ!