Self-reflection is a forgotten discipline for many today. Charles Spurgeon filled journals with reflections on each day. We are blessed with his thoughtful devotional life, and surely he was blessed as he paused in his day to write them. I’ve included a few of his reflections from the year 1850, a year he called “A Blessed Year of Jubilee” (Spurgeon, The Early Years, 125–133).
April 7, 1850
“Not well; the body bears the soul down.”
April 8, 1850
“Walked out after breakfast, never saw more plainly the sovereignty of God’s will. He has called me; I feel sure that He will carry me to glory. Not well. O God of grace, take me home when Thou pleasest! It is, “Mercy, mercy, mercy,” from first to last.”
April 12, 1850
“Earthly things have engaged too much of my thoughts this day. I have not been able to fix my attention entirely upon my Saviour. Yet, even then, the Lord has not hidden His face from me. Though tempted, I am not cast down; tried, but not overcome; truly it is of the Lord’s sovereign mercy. I would desire again this day to make a fresh application to the sin-atoning blood of Jesus to cleanse away my sins.
April 14, 1850
“Who could dare to hope of going to Heaven, if works are the price? I could not; it would be like oering me a possession in the sun, if I could jump up to it, and take it in my hand!”
April 19, 1850
“I do not live near enough to God. I have to lament my coldness and indierence in the ways of the Lord. O God of restoring grace, visit Thy servant in the midst of days!”
April 20, 1850
“Went round with my tracts; could not feel the Spirit of the Lord upon me. I seemed to have a clog upon my feet and my tongue. I have richly deserved this, for I have not prayed or studied my Bible as I ought.”
May 2, 1850
“How safe are all God’s people! Not one of the least of them can be lost, the oath and promise of the Lord cannot be broken.”
May 7, 1850
“I have again to confess my lukewarmness; I fear I am losing my first love. Coldness and deadness seem to be natural to me; I have no inward warmth, it all comes from the Sun of righteousness, by rich, free, and sovereign grace.” Spurgeon’s journals reveal a Christian deeply aware of his sin, and yet deeply aware of God’s grace. I’ve only included excerpts from certain days during this period, but each day Spurgeon took time to reflect upon the state of his soul. I’ve followed Spurgeon’s pattern of daily journaling, and my own soul has benefited greatly! If you don’t know where to start, here are some journaling prompts that I stole from George Whitefield:
1. What was the most important thing that happened today?
2. What did I learn today?
3. Where did I see God work today?
4. What was the most significant thing someone said to me today?
5. When was I most aware of the Lord today?
6. What was the most helpful or interesting thing I learned today?
7. What should I have done differently today?
8. How should I simplify my life tomorrow?
9. How could I most glorify God tomorrow?
10. What difference can I make in someone’s life tomorrow?
Are you aware of how you’re doing? Do you think about how you feel? Perhaps putting away the phone and pulling out pen and paper could be a helpful way for you to live this life from and before God.