I recently gave an exhortation to our body to add the Spiritual discipline of journaling to their daily routine in the coming year. This was an attempt to draw some very practical applications out of the text of Luke 1.
When you come to Luke 1 and do just a sight scan of the passage you notice two very distinct sections of that singular chapter. Those two sections are Mary’s Magnificat and Zechariah’s Benedicuts. They are songs of praise (NT Psalms as Ryken would say) and they are littered with Biblical references from the OT. Some scholars suggest that both Mary and Zechariah refer to at least 30 different OT passages in their brief songs as they respond to God’s Sovereign working in their lives.
This begs the question: “When God Sovereignly blesses me with great grace and goodness and I actually recognize that work in my life, does my heart, mind and tongue burst forth in similar praise? Does my response of joy burst forth back to God and in the hearing of others with the language of Scripture being fulfilled by God towards me for my good and His glory?” The answer is probably all to often no.
How often have I heard others, and how often have I myself, attributed the blessing and Providence of God to human means? How often has someone attributed a healing act of God up to the advancements in medicine. How often has someone attributed a relational reconciliation up to time, “which heals all wounds?” How often have we robbed God of the glory He is due to common and worthless explanations as opposed to filling the air around us with sound of His praises and the testimony of His word rolling off our tongue in thankful praise?
Journaling your way through your daily time of Scripture reading and prayer as well as journaling the ins and outs of everyday life is a way to cultivate this habit. Why? Journaling makes you slow down, contemplate your thoughts, contemplate the construction of a sentence that accurately captures your emotions and accurately conveys the truth from Scripture that you’re meditating on so that someone coming behind you could read it and understand. In a sense, journaling forces the habit /discipline of meditation.
Christy Tennant in the Jan/Feb issue of Bible Study Magazine writes . . .
Journaling forces me to linger over a verse longer than I normally would. During my devotions, if a particular verse or phrase catches my eye, I write it down and begin meditating on it. Reading through Jeremiah recently this phrase jumped out at me: “Their ears are uncircumcised , they cannot listen” (Jer 6:10 ESV). As I wrote this phrase, I pondered what it meat that they had uncircumcised ears, noting some of the things that came to mind: ears that are covered, blocked, unable to hear God’s voice.
As I wrote out the passage, I remembered that circumcision is also described in God’s Word as a sign of: spiritual rebirth (Rom 2:29), God’s covenant (Gen 17:11), and spiritual humility (Deut 10:16). I was reminded of some key spiritual truths that I had not considered in a long time. I prayed something like; Lord, circumcise my ears so I can hear you when you speak. Let me hear your warnings your instructions your encouragement, and your assurance. The concept of uncircumcised hears became more meaningful when I incorporated it into my prayers. Suddenly a passage that seemed only about the history of rebellious Israel had a very practical personal application.”
In coming posts, I’ll add some more thoughts and examples of how journaling can become one of the most fruitful Spiritual disciplines in your life. Give it a dedicated try in the coming months. I’d love to hear how God is using in your life to bear good fruit.