Monday, November 12, 2012

Identity Embrace: Ask the Hard Questions, Part I

Surface-level questions are typically pretty easy to answer.  They are non-threatening.

Courtesy of ullam.typepad.com
 

Heart-level questions, on the other hand--soul questions...not so much. 

Why is it that some people tend to avoid the very questions that could save them later on in life?  You know what I'm talking about: those "deep" questions that make you uncomfortable inside, because answer them means looking deeply into our motivations, our pasts, or our weaknesses. 

But what if we reframed this?  What if, when asked a "deep"question about ourselves, the state of our hearts, minds, and spirits, we focused on the benefits?  What if this was an opportunity to become aware of ourselves in a new light, to hone in on strengths, and to prepare ourselves for the future?

Because the future will happen, no doubt about it.  And when forced to make certain life-altering decisions, when tested, it is best to know oneself.  Inside and out.

Today's and Wednesday's posts will be about Asking the Hard Questions.  Call it self-assessment, call it "looking within", but I believe that asking and digging is obedience to the Bible.  Let's look at what James and Proverbs have to say, and on Wednesday, we will get to some applicable points.

Why look within and ask the hard questions?  James chapter 1 tells us why:
"Dear brothers and sisters, when trouble comes your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing" (2-4).

When difficult, pressing, or life-altering times arise, your very character will be tested--and you will want to know if your character is built on a foundation, or if it is weak and breakable!  Asking the hard questions encourages a strong foundation and enables an aware mind.

What are the benefits to asking the hard questions?  Proverbs 2 gives us some clear ones:
Understanding what it means to fear the Lord (v. 5)
Common sense and protection (v. 7-8)
Discovering the right way to go (v. 9)
Wisdom, knowledge and joy (v. 10)
An inheritance (v. 21)

Are you prepared to ask some hard questions?  To assess your strengths and weaknesses alike?  To assert your deepest values and discern your spiritual gifts? 

"Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (v. 7).  We begin with the Lord!  Sitting at His feet, asking for revelation, and worshiping Him as the only True One.  He knows us inside and out.

Stay tuned for Wednesday's Outpourings, when we'll talk about self-assessment in more detail, both consequences and benefits alike!

What holds you back from self-assessing?  What is God prompting you to pray about today?

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