Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. (Colossians 3:14)
When we come together in the bond of unity, we serve together and we search together. We search because we passionately pursue God. We honor Him with our love by pursing His. And seeking Him, asking questions, is part of the journey of faith.
Questions are good…most of the time. When they lead us to search, discover, and respond, questions can build our faith and build community. However, there are many questions that indicate a lack of clarity that deteriorates community. When uncertainties abound, unity in community erodes. We need to say what needs to be said when it needs to be said.
We might easily fall into the trap of answering questions such as “What information should be given? When should it be given? How should it be given and by whom?” according to what we most want.
We might want more information, so we fault the person who hasn’t shared it instead of walking up to the person and asking.
We might be comfortable with the information we have, so we don’t really want additional information. It might contradict what we think we know and reveal any misconceptions or false assumptions we have. More information might just make us more uncomfortable.
We might think that by not asking questions, we’re eliminating the questions we have, when we’re actually just letting them stir within us, sometimes in unhealthy ways that stir more confusion. Just because we think we’re the only one impacted by the questions roaming around inside us doesn’t mean what we’re experiencing doesn’t impact others around us.
We might want more information for the wrong reasons. It’s a power thing for us. We don’t need to know, but we certainly feel as if we need to know. It’s our right. We deserve the information. We seem to know what’s best for ourselves and for everyone else. But do we, really?
Questions aren’t just about gathering information. Questions are for clarification. If we’re asking questions in a way that creates more confusion, provides ammunition we can use against others, or digs much deeper than we need to go…if we’re asking questions in our own preference and reasons, we need to pause. We need to replace the questions we were about to ask with one ongoing question:
Am I allowing God to guide me?
In order to gain the clarification we need, we must pursue God. He will give us what we need when we need it. He clarifies what we need when it needs to be clarified because He has a much better perspective than we have. He knows when we need to continue asking questions for clarification because He wants to take us to a better vantage point, revealing Himself to us. He knows when we need to be content in the answers He’s already given us, because He wants us to develop and experience contentedness.
Trusting God for clarification isn’t just about our personal faith; it’s about living in community. People can get stuck with questions. They can get distracted by questions. When questions become the norm, discontentment often follows. I’m not suggesting we stop asking questions. When we build a culture of questions that lead to clarification, when the questions we ask lead to a greater dependence on and faith in God, we are growing together. We’re seeking and finding God together. But when the questions we ask are not united in pursuit of God, we end up dividing our communities instead.
When we ask questions, we need to be respectful of both God and others. Ask what, how, and when God guides. Answer what, how, and when God guides. You will never be more clarifying than when you trust and respond to God in obedience.
Dear God, please strengthen the bond of love between me and You as well as between me and others. I know that the bond of love honors You. I want to grow toward You and in biblical community by growing with Your love and familiarity and knowledge of You. Please guide me in the question I ask of and about You. I know You treasure constructive dialogue. You’re not offended or defensive when I’m seeking You with pure curiosity and a desire to know You more completely. Thank You for my personal relationship with You. I am so thankful that we are not distant.