A Tool to Draw Closer to God
Several years ago I began praying God would deepen my relationship with Him. I had always been in God’s Word, sometimes more consistently than others, but He began to impress upon my heart the importance of listening for a message from Him. As I prayed, God placed two very strong thoughts in my mind. First, I was to read His Word from beginning to end without using tools such as devotional materials or commentaries. Second, I was to consistently journal the message He had for me. In Galatians 1:12, Paul says, I received my message from no human source, and no one taught me. Instead, I received it by direct revelation from God.
I realized I didn’t need anyone else’s opinions or experiences to reveal God’s Word to me. I could read it and expect to receive a direct revelation from God Himself!
Presented here are four ideas about journaling. These principles have proven to be effective tools in my spiritual growth. Included are a few of my own journaling entries as examples.
When to Journal
1. When you feel God is communicating with you.
The physical act of writing God’s Word and what He has revealed to you through His Word is powerful and brings a new level of awareness and accountability. Sometimes as God reveals Himself and His message to you, He will prompt your heart to take action.
2. When you experience answers seeking God.
Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” As you seek God through His Word, prayer, or fasting, record what He reveals to you.
3. Often, the best time is in the morning when reading God’s Word.
It is very important to start your day listening for God’s message to you. He will often strengthen or encourage you, giving you what you need just for that day.
How to Use What You Have Written in Your Journal
God’s truth is for all people. As you journal ask God to give you a sensitive spirit as to what part of His message and with whom He would have you share.
Review what you have learned, how you have grown, what you have asked God to do in your life.
3. Draw confidence from direct revelations
This represents a level of intimacy and love between you and God. He loves you enough to draw you to Himself and reveal His character and will to you.
Reasons to Journal
1. It is a way to listen and respond to the Word of God.
It is very different from a diary which is a method of expressing feelings and recording events. “Biblical” journaling is not about what you feel, but about what you understand.
2. It is a way to recognize God’s truth.
We do not determine truth. We have a responsibility to recognize God’s truth, which is found in His Word, and live by it.
3. It helps you to remember what He says.
Distractions are all around us. Journaling helps us remember what God’s Word says in order to help us navigate through our busy world.
4. To document His instructions to us.
God’s Word is full of instruction. It’s purpose is to help us to become more like Christ.
5. The entries can be used as a witness to others.
God’s message is for you first. He will direct you if you are to share it.
6. To find and claim truth over your own life and the lives of people you love.
How to Journal
1. Always date your entries, being sure to include the year.
It can be a valuable tool in measuring spiritual growth.
2. Use it in partnership with the reading of God’s Word.
God has a message for you in His Word.
3. Take time to write the Scripture as well as the reference.
This is helpful when you go back and re-read your entries at a later time.
4. Record your thoughts on Scripture and write responsive prayers.
Sometimes you may do one or both.
5. List your needs.
6. Record God’s promises.
They are always true and often all we have to stand on.
How Journaling has Changed Me
Reading God’s Word and journaling His “direct revelation” to me has been a life-changing experience. I have an intimacy with God that I did not have before. As I read what He requires of me I find myself desiring holiness instead of what is common. I am becoming more and more sensitive to the truth that is in God’s Word and it has created a longing for God’s will over my own. I find myself humbled that the King of Kings, my own Creator, would communicate with me… sharing His love and revealing His character. Other than my salvation experience, this is the most spiritually significant thing I have done. I look forward to reading God’s Word every morning and meditating on the Scriptures He places in my heart.
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – Hebrews 4:11-13
In other words, it changes your thoughts, your attitudes, your desires, and yes, your life!