“How is your spiritual life going?” I used to answer this question by looking at the state of my devotional activities: Did I pray and read the Bible enough today? The problem is that by this measure the Pharisees always win. People can be very disciplined, but remain proud and spiteful. How do we measure spiritual growth so that the Pharisees don’t win? I asked a wise man, “How do you assess the well-being of your soul?” He immediately said, “I ask myself two questions”: Am I growing more easily discouraged these days? Am I growing more easily irritated these days? At the core of a flourishing soul are the love of God and the peace of God. If peace is growing in me, I am less easily discouraged. If love is growing, I am less easily irritated. It was a brilliantly helpful diagnostic to assess the health of my soul. — John Ortberg