What would life be like in a world without questions?
This was the “opening question” posed during a disciplemaking event and here are just a few things our group thought of in response:
– We wouldn’t be able to clarify information or unpack ideas and situations
– No ability to find out how things were going in the lives of the people around us
– Easy to hide since questions expose thoughts, motives, and emotions
– It would make it difficult to get to know someone deeply
– We wouldn’t be able to solve any problems…questions are key
– We’d be very limited in new discoveries such as cures for diseases or new technologies which often, if not always, result from asking, “what if we…”
As you reflect, I am sure you’ll find even more implications of a question-less world. The bottom line…Question are powerful! Questions have the ability to stir the pot and really get to what lies beneath. Questions help us to clarify our current reality, discover the dreams God has planted within, solve problems and move us toward action.
The Master Question-Asker
Jesus knew the power of a question. He asked many during his life and ministry. Here are just a few:
– Which is easier to say, “You’re sins are forgiven” or “Get up and walk?” (Mark 2:9)
– Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? (Luke 12:25)
– Why are you thinking these things? (Luke 5:22)
– Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath? (Matt 12:10)
– What is your name? (Luke 8:30)
– Who do you say I am? (Matt 16:13)
Jesus didn’t ask these questions because He wasn’t sure if it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath or because He didn’t know His true identity. Jesus asked questions to build understanding and help discover motives. He always asked questions for the benefit of the hearer.
The Power of a Question
Life would be hollow and stagnant without questions. Progress and change would be difficult if not impossible. And yet, often times we choose to make statements and give mandates rather than harnessing the power of a question.
In his book Leadership Coaching Tony Stoltzfus writes, “If someone else uses power or position to get us to change, we’ll change for as long as we are forced to do so. We’ll grumble about what the boss is making us do, and then as soon as the pressure is off we’ll revert back to the old way of running things. Our outward behavior changes, but that’s all. On the other hand, if I am the one who identifies and solves a problem, I have to believe in the solution I came up with in order to act on it. I’m freely choosing it, so I really embrace it. The change starts on the inside, then percolates out to alter my behavior. In other words, who I am changes, not just what I do.”
This is the difference between conforming and transforming. In the act of conforming you are trying to get people to believe what you believe and do things your way. And your beliefs may be true and your way may be good and right, but if the people you are trying to influence in don’t truly “buy-in” and are only “in it” because you said so…they will do things your way for a while, but once you relieve the pressure, they’ll revert…just give it time. (And let’s face it…even Jesus…whose way was RIGHT and TRUE and the BEST…even He didn’t make people do things His way…that should speak to us.)
If you are interested in being like Jesus and want new life transformation to happen…if you want something or someone to be really different…if you want to see new life through Jesus for Edmond and the world…follow His lead and begin to harness the power of a question.
The Next Step
Think about the people you are investing in so that they would know new life through Jesus. What questions might you ask so you can get to know them better, gain clarity and see what they think and believe? When talking about spiritual matters, how can you intentionally ask them a question rather than tell them what they need to believe? What’s one specific thing you could do to learn to ask powerful questions?
Life will be hollow and stagnant without questions. Progress and change will be difficult if not impossible. Questions are powerful to help people be transformed! So…How will you harness the power of a question today??