John Fletcher’s 12 Questions of Spiritual Examination

John Fletcher, a great Wesleyan preacher from the 18th Century, had 12 questions he would ask himself every night to see what part sin played in his day. He went on to have his church use these questions to examine their own lives.

There are many who spend way too much time in introspection, but the vast majority of us, even while thinking about ourselves all the time, aren’t really thinking spiritual thoughts of introspection. These are a fine guideline to begin thinking about sin in your life.

Note there isn’t anything in here about homosexuality, abortion or murder. He is examining Christian virtue from the heart level, from the nitty-gritty, unbelievably practical level. Sin isn’t just the big stuff; it always starts small.

1. Did I awake spiritual, and was I watchful in keeping my mind from wandering this morning when I was rising?
2. Have I this day got nearer to God in times of prayer, or have I given way to a lazy, idle spirit?
3. Has my faith been weakened by unwatchfulness, or quickened by diligence this day?
4. Have I this day walked by faith and eyed God in all things.
5. Have I denied myself in all unkind words and thoughts; have I delighted in seeing others preferred before me?
6. Have I made the most of my precious time, as far as I had light, strength and opportunity?
7. Have I kept the issues of my heart in the means of grace, so as to profit by them?
8. What have I done this day for the souls and bodies of God’s dear saints?
9. Have I laid out anything to please myself when I might have saved the money for the cause of God?
10. Have I governed well my tongue this day, remembering that in a multitude of words there wanteth not sin?
11. In how many instances have I denied myself this day?
12. Do my life and conversation adorn the gospel of Jesus Christ?

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