I. It’s Important to Ask the Right Questions.
This past week, on more than one occasion, a friend of mine asked a really dumb question. It was a moment where we both looked at each other, realized what she had said, and busted up laughing.
“There’s no such thing as a dumb question.”
…Yea right! Let’s be honest.
Teachers tell their class this phrase (“there’s no such thing as a dumb question”) to encourage active, engaged learning (because the majority of the time the non-verbalized questions in the students’ minds are good ones).
Let us be honest, though. There is such a thing as a dumb question. This time I’m not just being crass. I believe Jesus is on the same page.
In Matthew 21, the Pharisees were challenging Jesus’ authority in attempts to get Him to say that He was operating with the authority of God. The Pharisees wanted to say His statements about being God were blasphemy, in order that they could arrest and kill Jesus; however, it was not yet Jesus’ time to die. Read on to see if they succeeded or were defeated!
Jesus went into the temple and the chief priests and the elders (aka the religious big wigs) of the people confronted Him. Jesus was teaching and the big wigs called Him out on it, saying, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?”
Jesus responded, “I will also ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things.
(The tension builds, the people sit forward, and the room becomes quiet as everyone awaits the unknown trivia question…)
Jesus: “The baptism of John – where was it from? From heaven or from men?”
Big wigs: “Ok. We got this one. Baptism of John. Right, right. Heaven or men. Here we go.”
(Huddling around each other, whispering now, among themselves to keep their uncertainties away from the ears of Jesus and the people)
“Well, we can’t say from Heaven, because we don’t even like John and his stupid theology, because obviously we’re right and he’s wrong, but, if we say from men, the people are gonna go nuts. They really seem to like that John guy and there’s quite the crowd today. I don’t feel like fighting off all these people. I don’t know about the rest of you guys.”
(filing back to their positions within the Temple to give their final answer to the crowd and to Jesus)
Final answer: “Jesus, we dunno!”
Jesus: “Ok. A deal’s a deal.” You won’t tell me the answer to my question, I won’t tell you the answer to mine.”
– Matthew 21: 23 – 27 (my paraphrased version)
Why was this a dumb question?
A. The Pharisees asked the question in attempts to get Jesus killed. (John 5:18)
B. The Pharisees had already asked the question and heard Jesus’ answer. (John 5:19-29)
C. The question was not asked out of motive to gain knowledge, rather out of motive to condemn God. (John 5:18, John 10:31-33)
D. Their answer was based out of fear. They feared what the people would say if they answered that the baptism of John was from man. (Matthew 21:26)
It’s important to ask the right questions.
Jesus doesn’t like dumb questions (questions with wrong motives).
I realized this last night as I was asking Jesus about introspection. I learned that I was asking the wrong questions. When I asked a good question, I got a great answer! The conversation went something like this:
Morgan: “Jesus, is introspection Godly?”
“…on second thought…if I’m questioning it, why try introspection at all? If not introspection, how do you want me to be, God?”
God: Heavenly minded.
Whoah! Thanks for the understanding, God! Introspection, in my experience, has been pride. It has been pride through the lens of looking inward at myself. It hasn’t been a healthy, Godly reflection time. It hasn’t been a time where I’ve gained insight, knowledge, and wisdom about Jesus. It’s included me being focused on myself to make myself more approved by me. That’s a lot of myself and not a lot of Jesus. That’s never a good thing. I realized that introspection, for me personally, has been times where I’ve attempted to become my own Judge.
II: Taking on the Role of Being Your own Judge is Sin
If we take on the role of a Judge (one who analyzes something to determine if it is right or wrong) we are not playing our role. God is the Judge.
God is a righteous Judge. – Psalm 7:11a
But it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another. – Psalm 75:7
But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God. 1 Corinthians 4:3-5
III: Pursuing Heavenly Minded Sanctification Without Introspection
The question now is, since I’m not using introspection to make myself better, how do I become more like Christ? When I asked this question, God gave me insight to practical applications we can implement in our daily lives. These are things some of us probably already intentionally do simply because they’re Biblical. If we are not doing these things, we need to implement them because God makes it clear in Scripture that it’s His will.
1. We ask God to be our Judge.
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there by any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! – Psalm 139:23-24
2. When we sin, confess to each other.
And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. – James 5:15b-16a
Enough wallowing in self-pity, guilt, and condemnation. That’s not Biblical. There’s no condemnation in Christ Jesus – Romans 8:1 We confess to each other not to increase shame, embarrassment, or guilt. We confess to one another because God commands it. We confess to each other in order that other mature Believers speak Truth into our lives.
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:1-2
3. Pursue close, healthy relationships within the Body of Christ.
Be active in the church. You have a role. Find it. Do it. (1 Corinthians 12:12-21)
When you are actively pursuing relationship and connection within the Church Body, you will know and be known more. This is a good thing! People will better know how to encourage you, build you up, and speak Truth to you. (1 Thessalonians 5:11, Hebrews 3:13)
Within close relationships, people will see your flaws. Don’t freak out. This is good, because it will bring about sanctification. People will lovingly and Truthfully correct you, and this is God’s plan. When people are correcting you, don’t take offense. Listen to the Holy Spirit through the mouth of the church members. Be corrected. Be sanctified. (Proverbs 9:7-12)
Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. – Proverbs 19:20
Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence. – Proverbs 15:32
You are leaving introspection for a reason: because it’s isolating, satan can lie to you easier in your own head than anywhere else, and you are being prideful while continually looking within yourself to fix stuff with solutions you may or may not have. Stop trying to take over God’s job. He’s got it. Let Him act as Judge.
4. Do not compare yourself. Instead, remain secure in your identity. God has made you who you are – Remind yourself that You are His.
But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. – 2 Corinthians 10:12
Look at what is before your eyes. If anyone is confident that he is Christ’s, let him remind himself that just as he is Christ’s, so also are we. -2 Corinthians 10:7
5. Do not condemn yourself. Be quick to hear conviction from the Holy Spirit.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. – John 14:26