Journaling, or Automatic Writing?

by Rayola Kelley

    Q: Can you please explain how the practice of “journaling” is different from automatic writing? A friend warned me that there is a difference. I told her that “journaling’ is no different than the inspirations you get to write books or music, etc. Thanks for your insight. 

      A: I realize that there are well-meaning people who have fallen into the attraction of opening themselves up to the “Holy Spirit” in “journaling.” It may sound innocent enough, but the reality is that in order to journal in this context means one has to open self up to the supernatural. It is like opening all of the doors to your house and waiting for someone to come in and give you some insight. It is not within the nature of the Holy Spirit to randomly operate when it comes to inspiration. However, since Satan is a thief, he will be quick to oblige anyone who leaves such a door open. Although, people might think they are taking the necessary precautions as to the spirit that will ultimately inspire them, it is clear that they do not understand the person or work of the Holy Spirit. If they did, they would flee from such activities.

      The safest place to go in which to consider if “journaling” of this nature is acceptable is the Word of God. The subject we must study is the Holy Spirit. How does the Holy Spirit move upon people? How does He inspire or communicate with people? Is there any example to be found in Scripture where people availed themselves to the Holy Spirit through the activity of “journaling?”

      The first thing we must recognize is that “journaling” is a matter of random thoughts being recorded on paper. In other words, whatever thoughts come to mind when one is “waiting and open” are written. However, what are these thoughts being channeled through? We are told that the strongholds that spiritually hinder us are in the mind (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). In fact, these strongholds represent imaginations that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God. It is for this reason that we are to discipline all of our thoughts by bringing them into subjection to Christ Jesus. Clearly, we must discern our thoughts, as well as our thought process to ensure the integrity of that which we embrace to be true. Such thoughts must be tested according to the Person, teachings, examples, and words of Jesus Christ. It is obvious we cannot afford to allow random thoughts that pop into our minds to determine our reality or truth.

      We are told that the Holy Spirit moved on prophets in order to bring forth the sure word of prophecy. Prophets were people who were called, prepared, and chosen to be instruments of God. Hebrews 1:1-2 tells us that in the past God spoke through these people and that in the last days He spoke through His Son. Clearly, these prophets were not waiting around for God to tell them something. They clearly knew His voice, and only spoke as they were led by the Spirit of God.

      We know that sure word of prophecy now makes up what we know to be the Word of God(2 Peter 1:19-21). It is clear that prophecy is not a matter of random thoughts being put on paper, but inspired revelation that is being put forth for the edification of God’s people. It is complete.  Everything His followers need to know can be found in His Word; therefore, there is no need for us to try to become conduits of “new revelations” when He has already made them available and confirmed them as such. My suggestion to those who are caught up in this practice is to quit trying to add onto what has already been established as truth; rather, obey His written Word so it can become life to you.

      This brings us to how the Holy Spirit manifests Himself to us. We know that the sure voice of God is the Word of God. However, the Holy Spirit manifests Himself through gifts. When gifts are in operation, we do not open the door of our minds; rather, we avail ourselves to Him by turning over our tongues for Him to speak forth the words of wisdom and knowledge. In essence, we allow Him to unveil to our spirit truths that will build up others. We become a vessel in which He can speak to heaven in prayer and others in the ministry of encouragement, comfort, instruction, and exhortation. Once again, we are reminded that all things must be properly discerned to ensure that a matter is of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 12-14).

      This is a big subject which cannot be thoroughly covered in this newsletter, but my advice is if people are seeking a more satisfying life in God, seek no further than His Word. If you want more of God, be faithful and obedient to apply what you already know. Desire to possess the life of Christ by taking on His attitude and walking in the life that has already been imparted to you by the presence of His Spirit. Keep in mind, inward satisfaction does not come with more knowledge or religious experiences, but by possessing more of Jesus Christ.