Influential people learn to ask good questions. It is the foundation of this core value that marks people with a prosperous soul: I seek first to understand before I seek to be understood.
I remember when my grandchildren were younger and how they would persistently ask me, “Why?” I would give my best explanation. Then they would ask concerning what I just said, “Why?” This would keep going. “Why? Why? Why?” When Jesus said, “Unless you are converted and become as a little child, you will not enter the kingdom” (Matthew 18:3), I believe part of this revolves around question asking.
I read that Jesus asked 307 questions in the Bible. He understood questions would cause us to reflect on what we really believe and help us get revelation on things we should believe.
“Of the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times to know what Israel ought to do” (1 Chronicles 12:32). Asking ourselves the right questions will help us be like the esteemed sons of Issachar in the Old Testament. Here are five questions to prayerfully consider to help you know your priorities for your life and for this season.
- What do I know? – I had a person in one of my churches who would answer the phone with this phrase, “What do you know?” God used that to ask me the same question. I realized the more I know in direction, doctrinal convictions, and in my identity, the more I will live confidently. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). The quality of my life depends on identifying what I believe God has told me and directed me to do.
- What makes me come alive? – “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them” (Romans 12:5-6). People frequently ask me how they can know what they are to emphasize in ministry or as a life purpose. I tell them that these three questions will help them discover this: 1) What makes you come alive in speaking or actions? 2) What makes others come alive through your speaking or actions? 3) What need in the world or church makes you angry or cry? The answers to these will be helpful in determining giftings or callings.
- Am I planting, watering, or harvesting in this situation or season? – “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.” (1 Corinthians 3:6). I love to laugh at this lie: Those who plant and water are not successful, but those who reap harvests are very successful. Those who succeed understand there will be times when they must plant or water faithfulness, truth, or love that will lead to harvest later. Those who think there is no success until a harvest is realized cannot be joyful or confident in seasons of investing in the future.
- Who am I most committed to in my relationships? – “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8). Wow, this is a strong verse which forces us to prioritize who we are really responsible for helping the most. If we continually give our prime resources of time, energy, and finances to those who are not the closest to us (and those closest to us are doing without), then we need to adjust our priorities.
- What am I to believe in this season? – “Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” (Galatians 3:5-6). The kingdom of God is not moved forward by good conduct, but by good beliefs. The most important question of the hour is not, “Lord, what should I do?”, but , “Lord, what should I believe in this season? What should I believe about You, about me, about those in my life, and about the different areas of my life?” We are called to renew our minds with something higher than we are experiencing if we are going to experience something higher.
These are great questions to spend time with God about. I have not even touched on the greatest question of life that Jesus asked His disciples in Matthew 16:15, “But who do you say that I am?” That is the most important question in life. If we get it right and continue to believe He is the Son of God, believe in His finished work on the cross, and believe He did rise from the dead, we will have the proper foundation for these five questions above to launch us into the greatest season of our lives.
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ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND
Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.