Be a question-asker, not just a statement-maker
One of my favorite parts about being involved at Redemption Bible Church is getting to teach in the children ministry. They are loads of fun, and if you aren’t serving in a church, I would recommend serving in kid’s ministry (I think that you would feel sometimes that you learn more from them than you feel like they are learning from you). But while I love doing this, there’s for sure frustrations.. The one most fresh in my head is somebody that I call the “why kid”… The why kid is the kid in the group who asks the question “Why?” to every single thing that comes out of my mouth. I’m thinking about making a limit so this kid is only allowed to ask 75 questions per Sunday, which would probably cut his normal quota of questions in half!
But as I was thinking about the innocence of the child asking questions, it gave me joy. The kid just wants to understand what’s going on. Now, does the kid do it to be cute and annoying? I’m sure he does, and that’s part of serving in a kids ministry. But my point is that he didn’t bottle his curiosity in his head, he asks questions. I think we need to spend more time playing 20 questions instead of exclusively playing show and tell.
I think a problem that Christians are currently making is that make more statements motivated by prideful recognition, rather than asking questions out of sincere curiosity, in an aim to grow closer to the Lord. When you make a statement, people think you know something. When you ask a question, you’re putting yourself out there and letting people know that you don’t know something. Clearly, asking questions is a lot scarier than making statements. But from my experience, asking questions gives more growth than making statements. I’m not saying that statements shouldn’t be made, but I am saying that we should look at our statement making/question asking ratio. My guess is that you make more statements than questions you ask.
Here are 3 qualities that will grow in you if you become an question-asker…
1.) Humility– When you are asking questions, you’re being honest about not knowing something. You’re growing in humility while you do that. And I don’t think I’m wrong in saying that the church today is lacking humble people. We are lacking humble pastors who never reveal their weaknesses on the stage. We are lacking humble dads who tell their kids that they aren’t perfect. We are lacking humility from Bible students who think that since they took a systematic theology course that they have mastered Christian dogmatics. My point is that we are lacking humility, and a way to strive towards humility would be asking more questions. And I don’t mean questions that are crafted in a way where we are making statements, I mean saying “Yeah, I don’t know what’s going on here. What do I do? What does this mean? I don’t understand…” If you aren’t saying some variation of those things every single day, then you probably aren’t as humble as you think, and you don’t know as much as you think you do. It’s okay not to know something, you know that, right? You do know that you aren’t required to know everything, right? It’s okay to ask questions.
2.) Knowledge– It’s ironic that question-askers actually gain more knowledge in the long run than statement-makers. Statement makers aren’t growing in their knowledge because they think that they have peaked. They wouldn’t admit that, but their lack of asking questions proves that they think they know how things work and don’t need to ask questions. If God’s thoughts aren’t our thoughts, if His ways are loftier than ours, and He is outside of time; why would we be so prideful to think that the knowledge we currently possess is sufficient? I think rather than growing in our knowledge of God, we have this tendency to want to grow in our knowledge of information. And the reason that we stop asking questions is because there is know call to holiness when possessing knowledge is the purpose for study. We strive for information rather than transformation while information requires little of us, transformation requires all of us. And though it might be hard, God still needs to be the primary motivation of our knowledge, and that should be evident by asking lots of questions, no matter how old we are or how much information we take in along the way. When you are innocently curious and unapologetic in our sincere questions, you have a greater knowledge of who God is. And in that, you are pressed to know more and repeat the process all over again. When you know something about God and aren’t pressed to know more, you don’t know what you think you do. All that God reveals for us to know gives us a deeper hunger to know more. I wouldn’t gauge how much somebody knows based off of their credentials, I would gauge how much somebody knows by how many questions they ask on a consistent basis.
3.) Confidence– It may sound strange, but when you are more open about what you don’t know, you tend to be more confident in what you do know. When you address a lack of knowledge attributed to God and ask questions, you realize that not only can He handle those questions, but He will walk through those questions with you. Will you find answers? Not always, but sometimes yes. If you do find answers, don’t just stop asking questions, ask more! If you get to a point where you think all your questions are answered, then you’ve deceived yourself into thinking that you understand the answers God gave you. If God doesn’t completely answer your question, confidence is still produced because in your journey in walking and wrestling through questions with Him, He reveals Himself to you. The Holy Spirit assures you that while you might not know, He does. And though that might be confusing, that is a beautiful place… It takes pressure off of you to know everything, and allows you to be at peace and confident in an Almighty God who does know everything.
So start asking questions. Ask them to God, ask them to your pastors, ask them to people in your small group. Not just new Christians, but even the person who’s been a Christian for decades. And don’t ask questions that you craft with the motivation of making a point afterwards (nobody likes that guy). Be okay with saying “I don’t know” or “I don’t understand”. Don’t hide the fact that you don’t know, because that makes Christians around you feel inferior for knowing less than you, even though what’s really happening is they are just more innocent and open about expressing their questions than you are.
I’ve always felt the Holy Spirit remind me of the importance of asking questions, as well as Him reminding me the danger of being a statement oriented person. I’m worried about you, mature Christian, who doesn’t ask questions. I’m worried that you are seeing God through a small lens. I’m worried that you aren’t being honest about your sin. I’m worried that you labor to make sure people know that you know something, out of fear that they might find out that you aren’t as smart as you want them to think you are. And I worry about you because this is my tendency as well. Let’s swallow some pride and stop this.
Make it your goal to ask two questions a day. And in those questions, walk with Jesus and see what He reveals to you in the process. Listen to me, I’m not saying that you aren’t to make statements, because you absolutely are. Don’t be passive in your statement making, but don’t be somebody who doesn’t have time to ask questions because you’re always so busy making statements.
There aren’t many things that have made my relationship with Jesus more deeper and intimate than exploring questions with Him. I pray that will happen for you too, and that you will be quicker to ask questions than to make statements.