Throughout the four biographies of Jesus in the Bible, He is asked 183 questions. Of those 183 questions, how many do you think He answers directly? Four.
He responds to the other 179 questions sometimes with a story, sometimes with an action, but most often with a question. Jesus is the master of leading people with questions. In fact, Jesus Himself asked an astounding 307 questions.
Why is it Jesus, who knew the answers, spent so much time asking so many questions to people like you and me? Maybe questions are one of the main ways God helps us understand Him better and deepen our relationship with Him.
With that in mind, here are four questions worth asking yourself to deepen your relationship with God.
What Am I Looking For?
The opening question Jesus asked His first followers was not about God, sin, politics or family issues. The first question was about the followers themselves: “What are you looking for?” (see John 1:38).
By asking that question, Jesus wants to unearth something in us. We cannot answer that question without exploring our hearts, desires and souls. The moment that particular question takes root in us, we become students of what matters most to us in life. It is only after we have wrestled with that question that we can even compare it to what Jesus teaches us as the best way to use our one and only life.
Is There Anything about Jesus and His Teachings that Offends Me?
Jesus’ disciples were complaining about one of his teachings (see John 6:22-70). He asked them, “Does this offend you?”
Sometimes, this question will highlight misunderstandings we hold of who God is and the nature of the Gospel. Other times, it will highlight things we value more than trusting God.
We need to ask not only what offends us, but then the follow-up question of why it offends us. Working through that will lead to a deeper relationship with God and will often help us understand the lordship of Jesus in a more tangible, present way.
Can My Baggage Be Used for Something Better?
Baggage is my term for all the things others have done or said—as well as left undone or unsaid—that have created pain, hardship and suffering in our lives. Baggage is every person’s story; however, with God, baggage does not have to be the end of the story (see Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28).
A while back, a friend introduced me to the Japanese art form called kintsugi. Roughly translated, it means “the art of golden repair.” When pottery breaks, instead of discarding it, an artisan repairs it with gold, thereby not only restoring it to its original value, but actually increasing its value. The repair is not hidden; it’s highlighted.
That is often how God works as He heals us while also using our baggage for something better. God lovingly takes our weakest and most painful places and uses them to show how His grace and strength are sufficient for us (see 2 Corinthians 12:9).
Examples of baggage being used for something better include my friend who was never adopted, who now has adopted two children; another friend who was an at-risk child, who has given her life to help at-risk kids; and yet another friend who grew up without a dad in the picture, who now is mentoring a kid in a similar situation.
Pain is in all of our stories. With God’s help, it does not have to be the end of our stories. As we see God doing the art of golden repair in our lives, it deepens our trust of Him.
How Was God Present with Me Today?
One of the most repeated promises in Scripture is that God will be with His people. However, we can go through days, weeks or months without really reflecting on how God was present with us each day.
It doesn’t help that we often live our lives at warp speed. Someone asks how our day went, and we have to think about what we actually did, because we had so much happening. I am certain I am not alone in this.
Deep souls do not grow at warp speed. If we want to grow a deeper relationship with God, then we have to slow down and reflect. Try asking yourself at the end of each day, “How was God present with me today?”
There is certainly some precedent for believers standing unknowingly in the very presence of Christ only to realize it by reflecting later (see Luke 24:32). When we ask ourselves that question on a regular basis, we will soon discover with God’s help that we can see His presence in our lives in a more tangible way. He’s been there all along. We just need to slow down and ask ourselves a question, prayerfully asking God to give us eyes to see Him.
Questions alone do not have the power to deepen our relationship with God. However, they are often the way in which God invites us to discover some things about Him or ourselves that he will then use to move us into a deeper relationship with him. A prayerfully curious and humble faith that is willing to live into the answers one day at a time will over time become a deep faith that sustains us even in the most trying of times.
Tom Hughes is co-lead pastor of Christian Assembly Church in Los Angeles. He is the author of the new book, Curious: The Unexpected Power of a Question-Led Life. Find him at cachurch.com.