Thursday, February 02, 2006

The questions we ask.

Why do we ask the questions we do? Sometimes we ask in doubt, sometimes in curiosity. But do we ask in defiance or faith? For practicality or for intellectual pleasure?

If you’ve ever read my blog you know I have a curious mind. I over-think myself at times, sometimes to the point where I wonder if I’m still sane or have gone insane. I must ask, why, for what reason to I continually ask questions? Sometimes I ask questions from the depths of my heart, in doubt, in urgency. Sometimes my questioning is out of simple curiosity. I now turn to a new question; what are my motives? Where do these questions come from?

One night I was shopping at Barnes and Noble Bookstore. Ashley and I were going to see a movie and we were killing time because we were early. I moseyed my way to the Religion section, which happens to be my favorite section, and as I started reading some covers a man approached me. “I’ve been wanting to go back to church,” he said, “do you know a good one?” We began to chat about some good churches in the area and the type of community he’d feel most comfortable being with. He asked me about school and theology and what movie I was about to see. We were having, what I thought was a great conversation. After our conversation started to dim and I started reading more covers, he still followed me around. I could tell that he was pretending to be looking at books but really wanted to ask me something. I was sort of excited, anticipating what he wanted from me. Did he want to talk to me about what was going on in his life, to ask for prayer? Did he want to discuss a book on the shelf? What was our great conversation going to lead to? “Can I ask you one more thing?” He asked, “of course,” I responded, waiting for a deep philosophical question or a question about my life or his own. He explained that he worked for a financial company and his job was to get volunteers for his company. I realized at that moment that he didn’t really care about me or church or anything we’d talked about. He was only asking me questions so he could get me to volunteer. He had an alternate motive. Our whole conversation was useless.

We sometimes approach God, with alternate motives. We ask deep questions that really sound like they’re seeking the heart of God. We ask questions about God’s nature and the way the world works but why do we ask these questions? Sometimes I think we have an alternate motive. We don’t really care about God’s heart or understanding Him, we only want to figure out what our purpose is or what we’re going to get out of it or how we got here. We don’t care about knowing God, we just want to know about God.

So in your questioning, what’s your motive? Are you only seeking what benefits you or do you really care about knowing God and living the way He wants you to live regardless what that life may look like?

I am in search of a new way of questioning God, one that seeks to know Him and seeks to do what He will have me do. I don't want to ask anyomore questions in search of mere head-knowledge. I want to ask in faith.

6 comments:

Inheritor of Heaven said...

Very thought provoking post. In the school of ministry I am attending (it is for lay leaders) whenever we do a bible study or hear a speaker we are to think about it in terms of head, heart, and hands. The head is of course referring to head knowledge, knowledge of the material, more knowing about God. Heart is related to how is God speaking to my heart through this word or person. It is the place where we are to connect with God himself, to listen to Him rather than about Him. Finally, hands is how do I apply this knowledge to my life or ministry or relationships with others. Always included before any of this is a time of worship. And always included somewhere is prayer and often prayer ministry between and among us. There is nothing wrong with head knowledge but as you implied, God wants our hearts.

KJKEB said...

I agree with "Inheritor".

I think some of this is related to age. I think in my younger days, my thoughts were much more aligned with the more intellectual pursuit. As I have gotten older, I realize that my knowledge is far beyond my obedience. Notwithstanding, as you can tell from my own blog, I am still interested int he intellectual pursuit of theology and doctrine. But with a strong personal application focus.

~Kevin

Ashley said...

Very interesting post. I think too many times as Christians we ask questions with alternate motives, not really caring much about what or why we are asking, with a "just as long as I get what I want" type of mentality. I know from my own experience I have had several times where I have been sitting in church and they tell us the verse, "Ask and you will recieve, knock and it will be opened, seek and you will find" This is an amazing verse, but I think all too often people take it entirely out of context. This doesn't mean ask to win the lottery and if you don't God is unfaithful, which I think is how many people think (I do know this was an exageration, but for illustrative purposes) I think we ask the wrong questions too. I believe God does bless us beyond what we could ever imagine, but at the same time I believe we all too often ask all the wrong questions, with all the wrong motives. Great post Wes!

MicahGirl said...

We had a similar experience in Southern California last summer when we were out your way. Someone walked up to my husband and chit-chatted with him for a while, met me and the kids, and we thought--boy, he must be lonely, or spiritually hungry, or something along those lines and then he introduced his business proposition to us.

I like the way you turned the situation around as a lesson for yourself.

MG

WES ELLIS said...

Micahgirl,
Isn't that a drag? I just wonder how often we do that to God; "I love you Jesus, you're so great, by the way I want..." Or how often do we do it to people; "Hi how are ya, what's your name, do you know Jesus...?" Since we know what a drag it is to have it dome to us we might consider not passing it along.

Kristin said...

Awesome post, Wes!