May 26th Spiritual Diligence


Reading: Proverbs 26:1-28

As I read today’s chapter, I see many of the same themes we have considered over the last month. As I reflect I ask myself am I growing in these areas, or, have I stalled? Am I putting into practice what I have learnt? Am I merely being informed by Proverbs or am I being transformed by them?

In 1729, while John Wesley was a student at Oxford, he started a club with his brother Charles. It was often mockingly derided as “The Holy Club” by some of their fellow students. The club never exceeded more than 25 members, yet had among its ‘old boys’ such men as George Whitefield, who joined the club just before the Wesleys departed for Georgia, John Clayton who became a distinguished Anglican churchman, James Hervey who became a noted religious writer and Benjamin Ignham the renowned Yorkshire evangelist.

Every day in their private devotions the club members rigorously self-examined themselves by asking the following 22 questions:

  1. Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I really am? In other words, am I a hypocrite?
  2. Am I honest in all my acts and words, or do I exaggerate?
  3. Do I confidentially pass on to another what was told to me in confidence?
  4. Can I be trusted?
  5. Am I a slave to dress, friends, work, or habits?
  6. Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?
  7. Did the Bible live in me today?
  8. Do I give it time to speak to me every day?
  9. Am I enjoying prayer?
  10. When did I last speak to someone else about my faith?
  11. Do I pray about the money I spend?
  12. Do I get to bed on time and get up on time?
  13. Do I disobey God in anything?
  14. Do I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?
  15. Am I defeated in any part of my life?
  16. Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy, or distrustful?
  17. How do I spend my spare time?
  18. Am I proud?
  19. Do I thank God that I am not as other people, especially as the Pharisees who despised the publican?
  20. Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticise, hold a resentment toward or disregard? If so, what I am doing about it?
  21. Do I grumble or complain constantly?
  22. Is Christ real to me?

These are great and challenging questions and it’s amazing how the questions mirror many of the great themes of Proverbs. Why not print them off and use them regularly as a spiritual check list? However, be careful not to be condemned by the list, instead use it as a springboard for diligently following Jesus. Please don’t see it as a set of ‘plates to keep spinning’, but as a helper, let it serve you in your relationship and walk with God.

King David Prayed

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Ps139:23-24 NIV 1984)

For Memorisation

“Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest.” (Proverbs 26:2)

Prayer

Father, help me see that out of the raw materials of human living, I must fashion the important qualities of diligence: help me do that in your strength. I ask your help in this, help me to know the rewards of spiritual diligence are far greater than the cost. In Jesus name. Amen.

Comments:

  • Rachel Prentice says:

    A huge challenge. Reminds me of the Bible verse from 1 Corinthians 10 vs. 12 which says, ” Let him who thinks he stands, take heed lest he falls.”

  • Mary Dicker says:

    The list is very challenging, but I realise that it is the truth that sets us free. When I can truthfully look at myself and dare to challenge myself, my prejudices,my hypocrisy, my behaviours, then I will be on the way to making changes. Someone said to me this week”it’s tough living in the truth, it would be easier to go back to the comfort of my old behaviour.” So true!
    Lord help me to live in the truth, and not to hide from it.



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