The more I read Scripture, and the older I get, there is a growing awareness in my mind that I linger over the questions in the Bible far more than I used to. I once preferred the decrees, the commands, the prohibitions and the promises. I’m naturally wired to take satisfaction in dogmatic declarations…but in recent years I find myself pausing at the questions I read in the verses of my bible. I awoke on a recent morning with four of those questions dancing in my mind. Within minutes I knew that Holy Spirit was harnessing my thoughts before my day got underway. Here is what I heard Him speaking to me that day, and I believe these four questions can be directed to your own life as well. How we answer them over the long haul will determine what our lives are all about.
“What is your name?” – Genesis 32:27. This is a question of your IDENTITY. Who are you? How do you define yourself? What is that makes you, you? This question was originally posed to Jacob as he wrestled with the Lord. Jacob had been living in a personal identity crisis for a very long time, and he had even intentionally morphed his identity earlier in life in order to take the birthright from his twin brother Esau. Jacob had been living somewhat of a lie and was not being the man God destined him to be. Jacob had been avoiding the confrontation where he would need to acknowledge who he currently was in order to step into who God had made him to be. God pinned Jacob to the ground that night, powerfully touched him, asked him who he was, forever changed the way Jacob would walk, and assigned him a new identity. He would be called Israel from that day forward. What identity are you living under currently?
“Is there not a cause?” – 1 Samuel 17:29. Here is the question of your VISION. Young King David was surrounded by people who could not see what God wanted them to see. Goliath was roaring and Israel’s army was being shamed in their indecision and lack of courage. The enemy of God was not being resisted, much less defeated. Israel’s soldiers where shuffling their feet while God’s name was being blasphemed. David arrived on the scene, sensed the injustice, stepped up to the fight and resisted the opposition from within his own family who misunderstood his motives. David saw something that others could not see. Is there not a cause? Is there not a call for you to step up, step out and step in? This question is all about an awakening to the purposes of God in your generation. What is God doing right now? This is one of the most essential questions presented to each generation. To discern God’s cause and to embrace it as your own purpose brings rich meaning to life. Living for lesser causes is a waste of who you are. What cause are you pouring into?
“Why are we sitting here until we die?” -2 Kings 7:3. This question rouses our COMMITMENT. A group of lepers were just a few hundred yards away from salvation. The enemy of Israel had surrounded their city, but the inhabitants of the city had no idea that God had sovereignly scattered the enemy on their behalf. The lepers were slowly starving to death, along with everyone else, because they assumed there was no way of escape and they were doomed. They finally came to their senses and realized that they had nothing to lose by going out toward the enemy. They committed to a course of action. They rose up. They moved in a decisive direction. They risked it. These lepers asked the question that many Christians and churches fail to ask: “Why are we sitting around and slowly dying? Why are playing it safe? Time is running out. What do we have to lose? Let us engage our wills and move out in faith. What are we waiting for?” Eventually they committed themselves and found a treasure trove of provision and a defeated enemy. Commitment results in you discovering God’s best. Only those who leave the safety zone experience God’s most treasured moments. What are you needing to commit in order to avoid fossilizing in front of an open opportunity?
“Do you believe that I am able to do this?” – Matthew 9:28. Perhaps this question from the Lord Jesus is the one that has the most impact on us as we come to various crossroads in life. This is a question of our EXPECTATION. Two blind men who were tired of walking in darkness cried loudly to Jesus to be healed. Jesus approached them at the moment of their need and asked them if they had faith to trust Him with what was about to happen. He wanted to know if they believed that His power was greater than their need. He took them to an extreme place in their hearts and called on them to confess their confidence in Him. When they did so, He spoke again and said, “According to your faith be it done to you.” The believing men became receiving men. Their eyes were opened. Their need was met. Their lives were changed. Their expectation was powerfully met with God’s power. What do you expect of your Lord? It may be that you are only experiencing what you choose to expect. It may also be that He is welcoming you to raise your expectation of Him. Why would we presume Him to do less for us than He does for others?
Four questions. Four core areas that comprise so much of our lives. A question of identity. A question of purpose. A question of commitment. A question of expectation.
Now it is time for us to live out our answers.