Donald Whitney on the “Sinkhole Syndrome”

One of the great joys of my time at Southern Seminary was sitting under the teaching of Dr. Donald Whitney in a class called Personal Spiritual Disciplines.  Most everyone I’ve asked felt this class was one of their favorites, and more than a few said it transformed their walk with the Lord.  Dr. Whitney’s website, www.biblicalspirituality.com, is full of scripturally practical articles and sermons.  I highly recommend it. 

One of his recent articles, The Sinkhole Syndrome, reminds us of the importance of maintaining our spiritual life.  Distractions come at us constantly, and before long we rely on past experience and knowledge to make it through each day.  Dr. Whitney rightly argues that doing so sets us up for serious spiritual and moral failure.  This a great reminder to myself, since I’m easily given to distractions.  Here’s an excerpt:

As the pressures of life increase and more deadlines loom, it becomes harder to maintain time for the devotional life. “Who will know if I abandon a consistent prayer life? Who can tell if I seldom turn the pages of Scripture? I know the Bible pretty well already, and I hear it a lot at church. God has given me this busy life; surely He understands.” And the erosion begins.

At the outset it’s likely that very few will know when the hidden part of your spiritual life begins crumbling. Just as imperceptible movements of water underground can carry away the earth beneath long before anyone on the surface perceives it, so the pressures of life can secretly displace the soil of our private spiritual disciplines long before the impact of their absence is visible to others. The more public parts of a Christian’s life, such as church involvement and various forms of ministry, can often continue with little observable change right up until the awful moment of collapse and the hypocrisy is revealed.

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