Let’s face it, every time I find myself in any bookstore (and I frequent them more than I should admit!), I quickly catch myself on the aisle filled with beautifully crafted journals. Now, I think all of us can admit that we’re typically more excited about journaling when we find the prettiest new journal, especially the one that will increase the amount of likes we get for our “quiet time Instagram” post (#ChristianGirlInstagram). But what does Scripture have to say about what we should be writing in our pretty journals?
Well, Moses’ commands to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 fall in line with the discipline of journaling. Here, the Israelites are finally about to enter into the Promised Land that they have been trying to reach for over 40 years. Grumbling and complaining overtakes the Israelites as they lose sight of Who has brought them through thus far. Moses reminds the people of their past, encourages them in the present, and challenges them for the future all while explaining in detail the many attributes of God.
The discipline of keeping a spiritual journal has many positive implications for our lives and allows us to gain better understanding, enables us to respond, and encourages us to remember God’s faithfulness in our lives. Moses’ commands in Deuteronomy 6 give us insight into what God desires for us to record in our spiritual journals and how He will use this to strengthen our relationship with Him.
A Command to Hear
Moses specifically commands the Israelites in verse 4 to hear that the Lord is One—meaning He is the only God and the only Source of truth. In order for us to devote our complete obedience and worship to Him, we must first understand that the Lord is completely worthy of it all. Knowing and believing that the Lord is the one true God should challenge us to want to understand all God has to tell us. Keeping a spiritual journal allows you to jot down those times when you have questions about Him or when you learn something new and awesome about God! The first thing we record in our spiritual journal is the details of the truth itself.
A Command to Love
This is obviously of utmost importance because Matthew, Mark and Luke all write the exact same thing. Moses, in verses 5-6, shows that he really wants the people to learn how to love the One who had brought them so very far. I especially love what Scripture says in Mark 12:33 about how our love for Jesus is greater than anything else in this world. Mark writes, “And to love Him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength…is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When we love someone, we will respond to them. As our love for Jesus grows, we will hopefully gain a desire to respond to Him more through praising and rejoicing in who He is and all that He has done by writing it down! The book of Psalms is a great example of this, as it is like a recorded expression of the psalmist’s relationship with the Lord. In our journals, we too can record our own Psalms-like expressions as joyful noises and praises unto the Lord (Psalm 100).
A Command to Teach
The command to teach in verses 7-9 is for all that had been previously taught and all of the Scriptures that they had stored up in their hearts. Moses insisted that they remember and pass it on. Journaling while reading Scripture allows us to store up what the Lord has taught us so that we will not forget it. We will then be able to teach others along the way and teach our future generations all that God has done for us. Teaching Scripture is an aspect of the Great Commission that Jesus gives to every single believer in Matthew 28:19-20. If we truly love Jesus with our whole being, we should have a huge desire to fulfill the commission He has given us. We also do not want to forget any of the beautiful ways He has worked in our lives so that we may share those truths with everyone around us.
In March 2015, I applied to my desired graduate school program, completed the interview process, and was anxiously awaiting an answer. I had been praying a lot about what the Lord’s plan for my life after graduation from college would look like. I was told “not yet” from my program and that I would have to wait until a later date to learn if they accepted me or not. God knows me so well and knew I needed to learn how to be patient and wait on Him. So, I journaled about this moment and what the Lord was teaching me.
Just a few days later, I read Psalm 138:8, and goodness gracious, I think I might have read it 50 times or more! “The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; Your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of Your hands.” When the Lord speaks to you through Scripture, He does so vividly! I jotted down truths and promises directly from the Lord and wrote about how those related to my current situation. I wrote about how I didn’t need to worry, because He will come through in the best way. I will always hold dear those truths and promises from God, and Psalm 138:8 will always be one of my favorite verses. Not only did the Lord give me His truth, but He also allowed me to praise Him and rejoice in knowing that He is always guiding my steps. Furthermore, since I journaled that verse, dated it, and wrote down why it was so important to me at that time, I will always have the ability to flip back to that journal entry and praise God for His faithfulness in my life. And it wasn’t until several weeks later that I was accepted into the program! Praise the Lord for His perfect timing and perfect faithfulness—of course just meaning more to pen in my journal!
Girls, I truly believe that if we commit ourselves to keeping a spiritual journal, our relationship with Jesus will have great potential to grow! Remember, keeping a spiritual journal allows us to gain a better understanding of who God really is, enables us to respond to Him, and encourages us to remember God’s faithfulness in our lives. Like Moses said, the Lord’s faithfulness is way too good to forget! Journal about it and always be reminded of the truths He has taught you and how He has remained faithful to you so that you can teach others.
God, we know that You are completely worthy of our entirety of worship and obedience. I pray that You will increase in me the desire to know You better, talk to You more, and praise You for Your faithfulness in my life. I pray that as I journal and reflect on how You are working in my life, I will grow to love You more and more every single day.
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Don Whitney