Episode #109 Are Questions Allowed? – Reconstructing Faith
From Today's Episode:
Welcome! We're in our Reconstructing Faith Series and today's topic is Are Questions Allowed?
Jeremiah 33:3; Matthew 17:18-23
1. God, what's a question you're inviting me to ask you?
2. And as I talk with you about this, what else will help me?
Here's the episode transcript
Hey friends, it's Jen. And if you've been around the podcast for any length of time, you already know that I am a fan of asking questions. I believe God invites our questions and even the approach to our podcast here is giving you at the end of every episode, a question that you can then take into conversation with God.
We're continuing in our series on reconstructing faith and how that's a function of the Holy Spirit. God himself extends us this constant invitation to be rebuilt and built and fortified in him.
In Jeremiah 33:3 it says,
“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” (Jeremiah 33:3)
And this doesn't say only to the leader, only to the Bible study teacher, only to the preaching pastor. It is an open invitation for us to call him and to come near and to have him reveal things to us. We talked about this a little bit back in episode 36, where we're talking about recognizing if it's God or me who's speaking to me. But it's really applicable to look at again today, because one of the areas where I can see us getting unhealthy is having an unhealthy approach to asking questions, or in avoiding questions altogether.
Sometimes, especially if you've been around the church for a while, it can feel scary to ask questions because you don't want to be found out for not knowing something. There may be even questions that you will Google about God, but you wouldn't dare to ask a mentor or someone in small group.
We don't need to be worried or ashamed of the questions that we have.
Instead of being concerned of being found out by our questions, by asking these questions, we can find out about God.
We can find out more of who God is and who he has created us to be.
One of the places where I struggled to ask questions in the past, was unfortunately, that I allowed my pastor to be my Holy Spirit. Instead of asking God what he would have me apply from a weekend message or from my Bible reading, I would wait for a Bible teacher or for my pastor to tell me what application was to look like—to be the voice of God in my life.
Now, of course, God does speak through people. He does speak through his written word. That's one of the primary ways he speaks to us, but he also wants to give us application for our life. God wants to be active in the conversation with us and active in showing us how to walk out his instruction.
Instead of pressing in to ask God what he would have for me, instead of studying to be rooted in the word myself, I allowed other people to be rooted for me.
But that doesn't actually work.
We're going to look at evidence about how that doesn't work here in Matthew 13. And this is when Jesus is explaining what he meant by the parable of the sower. Jesus is teaching the parable, and then some verses later, starting in verse 18, he's explaining the parable to his disciples. And it says,
“Hear then the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” (Matthew 17:18-23)
The way Jesus describes this parable is that the seed that was sown is the word of God. But there are circumstances, there are external factors that are impacting whether or not the seed takes root.
And what can sometimes happen, even in the church, is that we can depend on external circumstances or people to allow the word to bear fruit in our lives, instead of seeking to be those with good soil who can hear the word and understand it.
And part of that understanding comes in asking questions.
Asking questions to people that we trust in the faith who are also being discipled by Christ and can help us on our journey. Asking questions of God. Asking questions of the word because the word interprets itself, and so seeking understanding in scripture.
But unfortunately, there is risk that we can pull back and not have roots within ourselves. And so the good seed of the word doesn't grow to full in us.
This reminds me of something I experienced as a senior in high school. So yeah, way back when. Most of us were either about to turn 18 or had just turned 18, and so our political science teacher was encouraging us to register to vote. And the way he went about really the whole class was to encourage us not to just sign up for the political party that our parents were part of, but to inspect the beliefs of that party to decide for ourselves what we believed.
Now, obviously, this is not a political podcast. I'm not going into that topic of conversation here. But I see that same thing happen in our faith.
We can be those who are around the word, but if we're dependent on the faith of our parents, the faith of our spouse, the faith of our community and the understanding that other people in our circles have, that doesn't allow the word of God to be rooted in our lives in a way that will last. But instead we can inspect what we believe. We can ask questions, we can gain understanding, and we can come into those conversations seeking for our hearts to be good soil, that God's truth will be planted deep within our hearts and minds.
Today we're closing the episode with a two-part question for us to take into conversation with God.
Our first question is: God, what's a question you're inviting me to ask you?
And then the second part,
And as I talk with you about this, what else will help me?
Have a good talk.
And if you've been encouraged by this content, please share it with a friend and help them grow in their conversational relationship with God too!
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