Friday, March 20, 2015

Becoming Like God...In His Story (3 of 3)

The previous post shared eight reasons that journaling can be helpful to the walk of a Christian. Personally, I don't journal all the time, but I have recently read some old entries and it has encouraged me to begin journaling again. As I read the old entries, I was reminded of some good and some challenging times, and how God brought me through those times. I also saw how I grew in my faith, and can see elements that have continued to play a part of my life through the years.

Yet, as I wrote earlier this week, there is nothing in Scripture that commands us to journal. And because there are no commands, there are no real rules. How often? Up to you! The content? Up to you! The format? Up to you! How long? Up to you! And frankly, this freedom is a reason why some don't journal. Without a structure, some just will not. If that's you, simply choose to begin. Get a notebook or sit at your computer/tablet and sit write a page's worth. Some of mine go two or three pages (again, that's not wrong), but I usually sat down with the thought of finishing a page or so. When I journal now, I tend to do it on the computer. First, I dislike writing by hand. Second, I can't read my handwriting sometimes. But the bad thing is that if you lock yourself to doing it on a computer, and you don't have a computer around, well, will you journal? Of course, tablets and cell phones help with this today.

Our letter for JOURNEY this week is E – Evoke? Remember, Evoke is to stir the hearts. I promise you, my heart was stirred this past week – both good and bad – as I read through an old journal. I didn't have time to read some of the more recent ones. But seeing some of the same issues then, that I face now, even at a very different stage of life, reminds me that I need the grace and mercy of God more than ever. And, what of those who follow us? Perhaps my son or daughter, or grandchildren, etc., will read my reflections some day. My journal can then serve as a witness to others – even after I die of what God did for me, for us. And what He might do for them!

So what is our next step?

Let me tweak our question for this series to make it about journaling:

If your growth in godliness were measured by your journaling about what God has done in your life, what would be the result?

So what words capture the next step in Becoming Like God?
INSIGHT – Consider what insights you might gain.

Again, this series is entitled Becoming Like God. Journaling might not help us become more like God directly, but it can help us reflect on God. It can also help us see where our story crosses paths with God's story, which should bring us closer to God. So, specifically, what can you do as it relates to journaling? Well, we return to our 4L's – Learn, Live, Love, and Lead – to provide potential next steps for each of us. Again, consider where you are related to fasting RIGHT NOW. And let the Spirit lead you to what you might next do.

Consider any historical figure you admire. Research to see if they journaled, or where the information we know came from. Then review the 8 Values to Journaling (Post 2 this week). Do any of those make an appeal to you to begin journaling?

Try it. Don't make any commitments to yourself, to others, or even to God. Just try it occasionally and see if it has any benefit for you.

If you have journaled in the past, go back and read some old entries. See how God has used past circumstances for God (Romans 8.28) and let His work encourage you to continue journaling, or, like me, to start again.

Share your story with others. Perhaps some of your old entries can encourage others. Even those times that are painful cane help. In one of my entries I read this week I had written the thought that God can use your biggest hurt to be your greatest area of ministry for Him.

* This series of posts is adapted from Donald Whitney's book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life.

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