Here is a very helpful post from Byron Welsh on one of our suggested books for summer reading. Thank you, Byron for serving us. From Byron…

You’ve seen in the bulletin the last couple of weeks that the suggested reading for the summer includes three books: Galatians for You by Tim Keller, Ten Questions to Diagnose your Spiritual Health by Donald Whitney, Spiritual Depression by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. In this posting I want to talk to you about Donald Whitney’s book Ten Questions to Diagnose your Spiritual Health. I read this book years ago and started reading it again just last week. When I read it earlier I recall each of the chapters helping me to diagnose and understand my progress in the Christian spiritual life. Whitney poses key questions for each chapter in this 10 chapter book. Questions such as “Do you thirst for God?”, “Are you increasingly governed by God’s word?”, “Are you more loving?” and “Do you still grieve over sin?”. The chapters are short and easy to read. Whitney first defines terms and concepts in each chapter and then discusses why the question is important for the Christian life. Finally Whitney gives practical steps for improving the particular aspect of spiritual health addressed in each chapter. Just last week I read the first chapter: “Do you thirst for God?”. Whitney starts by defining spiritual thirst for three different souls: the empty soul, the dry soul, and the satisfied soul. The empty soul is the unbelieving soul that is always chasing after desires of this world. Whitney says of the “dry soul” that “A Christian soul becomes arid in one of three ways. The most common is by drinking too much from the desiccating fountains of the world and too little from “the river of God” (Psalm 65:9).” And finally Whitney describes the blessed condition as the “satisfied soul”: “… the satisfied soul thirsts for God precisely because he is satisfied with God. He has “tasted and seen that the LORD is good” (Psalm 34:8), and the taste is so uniquely satisfying that he craves more.” I want to be the “satisfied soul”! Whitney ultimately attributes a thirst for God to the Holy Spirit working in us. “God creates a thirst for Himself so that He can satisfy it with Himself.” But that doesn’t mean we sit around waiting for the Holy Spirit to work. Whitney gives practical advice for increasing our thirst for God: meditating on scripture, praying through the scriptures, and reading thirst-making writers. As an example, Whitney’s keen insights on meditating on the scripture really helped me to rethink my own way of reading the Bible. His advice in regard to mediation is “Spend 25 to 50 percent of your Bible intake time meditating on some verse, phrase, or word from your reading. Ask questions of it. Pray about it. Take your pen and scribble and doodle on a pad about it. Look for at least one way you could apply it or live it. Linger over it. Soak your soul slowly in the water of the Word, and you’ll find it not only refreshes you, but prompts a satisfying thirst for more.” I found this very helpful for my own time in the Word. I hope you enjoy this book, Byron