Vindicate me, Lord, because I have lived with integrity and have trusted in the Lord without wavering. Test me, Lord, and try me; examine my heart and mind. For Your faithful love is before my eyes, and I live by Your truth. I do not sit with the worthless or associate with hypocrites. I hate a crowd of evildoers, and I do not sit with the wicked. I wash my hands in innocence and go around Your altar, Lord, raising my voice in thanksgiving and telling about Your wonderful works. Lord, I love the house where You dwell, the place where Your glory resides. Do not destroy me along with sinners, or my life along with men of bloodshed in whose hands are evil schemes, and whose right hands are filled with bribes. But I live with integrity; redeem me and be gracious to me. My foot stands on level ground; I will praise the Lord in the assemblies. – Psalm 26 HCSB

Humble introspection should be the hallmark of the righteous and disciplined journaling is one of the best ways to inculcate this vital habit into our lives. “Where do you see journaling in the Scriptures?” you may ask. The entire Bible is composed of sixty-six journals of righteous men who wrote as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit. The book of Psalms chronicles the joys, sorrows, victories and defeats of a man after God’s own heart.

Didn’t Paul teach, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Or do you not recognize for yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you--unless you fail the test?”[1] This kind of self-examination is vital to the determination of our status with Elohim. Are we truly one of the redeemed righteous? If we are, are we living as the children of God should? Are we pleasing our Lord? Are we making progress in our attempts to work our salvation out into every aspect of our lives?

Paul particularly advocated self-examination prior to partaking of the Lord’s Supper saying “Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy way will be guilty of sin against the body and blood of the Lord. So a man should examine himself; in this way he should eat of the bread and drink of the cup.”[2]

The discipline of journaling stems from the insight the Master gave us in that our fruit (the good or evil works we do) reveals our inner spiritual state.[3] David understood this principle and in this Psalm wrote down what he felt demonstrated his right relationship with Yahweh.

So keep a “character journal.” Examine the areas in which you seek improvement. At the end of each day, list your victories and defeats. This will help you determine you besetting sins and your spiritual strengths. This will help you achieve slow and steady progress in your spiritual growth.

[1] 2 Corinthians 13:5 HCSB

[2] 1 Corinthians 11:27-28 HCSB

[3] Matthew 7:15-20