We are currently reading Donald Whitney’s book, Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health, and I must tell you, it is encouraging, convicting and compelling. I find myself responding to what I read in the way I believe the author prayed his readers would.
For example, in my reading I was challenged to think of God as a Great Ophthalmologist. Consider the following:
“As your vision becomes more Christlike, you’ll begin to see temporal and spiritual needs of people that you didn’t see before. You’ll detect inward tears before they well in the eyes, and hollowness of heart in those who don’t even themselves know how empty they are. Hurts and needs you had never noticed will begin to emerge from the most familiar people and places. Does this describe your spiritual vision? If not, ask the Great Ophthalmologist to correct your spiritual myopia.”
I meditated on this for a while – something the author encouraged from another chapter. I prayed asking God to help me see the people I would encounter today the way He sees them. I asked to see needs and to be an instrument of His love to others.
Later as I was running errands I was reminded of my prayer, but sadly after half the day was gone! I asked again for God to help me see what He sees. I was pulling into the shopping center parking lot to drop off some clothes at the cleaners. The lady who works there took my clothes as usual, and I walked out the door. But before I got to my car, I realized the lady wasn’t as cheerful as normal. In fact, she looked sad. Since I had just prayed…I turned around and walked back into the store.
“Are you okay? You seem sad.”
“No, I’m not okay. My father had a heart attack this morning.” She began to cry.
“I’m so sorry! Can I pray for you?”
Right there I was able to wrap my heart around this dear woman and pray earnestly for her father who lives faraway and for the peace of God to comfort her as only He can.
This was no coincidence. God hears us when we pray for things according to HIS will. He wants us to see others the way He sees them. We are His hands and feet. We are the ones privileged to go and do in the name of Christ. But so often I miss it. I’m not listening. I’m not paying attention to the clues all around me. I fail to represent Him.
This got me thinking, how well do we diagnose the health of our marriage? Do we notice the things God wants us to notice? What if we were to take the chapter titles of Mr. Whitney’s book and apply them to our marriage? Would we find our marriages in health or in sickness? Either way, we are committed to each other on both counts – see your marriage vows.
Following are the chapter titles. Some I have adjusted to apply more appropriately to marriage, but the intent is the same. Mr. Whitney’s questions are first, mine are in italics.
1. Do You Thirst For God?
Do You Desire Your Spouse?
2. Are You Governed Increasingly By God’s Word?
Is Your Marriage Governed Increasingly By God’s Word?
3. Are You More Loving?
Are You More Loving Towards Your Spouse?
4. Are You More Sensitive To God’s Presence?
Are You Sensitive To Your Spouse’s Needs?
5. Do You Have A Growing Concern For The Spiritual And Temporal Needs Of Others?
Do You Have A Growing Concern For The Spiritual And Temporal Needs Of Your Spouse?
6. Do You Delight In The Bride Of Christ?
Do You Delight In Your Bride?
7. Are The Spiritual Disciplines Increasingly Important To You?
Is Romancing/Loving Your Spouse Increasingly Important To You?
8. Do You Still Grieve Over Sin?
Do You Grieve Over Sins Which Hurt Your Spouse?
9. Are You A Quicker Forgiver?
Are You A Quicker Forgiver?
10. Do You Yearn For Heaven And To Be With Jesus?
Do You Yearn For Home And To Be With Your Spouse?
So how did you do? Is your marriage growing at a healthy pace? Or did you find areas of lack? If the latter, spend some time talking these questions over together, and ask God to help you see your marriage the way He wants it to be.
Do you know what His ultimate goal is for your marriage – in all marriages for that matter? That we might accurately reflect His love for the church. So comparing our spiritual health to our marital health really isn’t a stretch after all. It is all for His purpose and His glory.
May we have eyes to see that which is of most importance.