How is it with your soul today?
When was the last time someone asked you this question or one with similar depth?
Jesus asked questions, a lot of them. He entered into conversations that brought about lasting change by asking thoughtful and meaningful questions.
- “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6)
- “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. (Mark 10:51)
- “Who touched my clothes?” (Mark 5:30)
- “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” (Matthew 16:15)
- “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:27)
- “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” (Matthew 9:28)
- “How many loaves do you have?” Matthew15:34)
- “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Matthew16:26)
- “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” (Luke 24:17)
- “Do you love me?” (John 21:17)
How often do you ask questions in conversations? Questions followed by silence invite others to consider their response and enter into a reflective exchange. These discussion-starters open the door for further familiarity in relationships. When questions flow in dialogue, vulnerability and honesty emerge.
Children ask a lot of questions. The inquiries of kids arise from curiosity, wonder, and longings to understand. Perhaps the perpetual barrage of questions by the little people in our lives becomes exhausting, but their inquisitive spirits teach us as we age. Do we live with curiosity, wonder and longing to understand?
The Bible records the story of Priscilla and Aquila. They engaged in thoughtful conversation with Apollos. When these three met up, it became evident that Apollos didn’t have the full picture of Jesus death and resurrection. Priscilla and Aquila invited Apollos into their home. They offered curiosity, hospitality and shared the way of God more accurately (see Acts 18: 24-26).
I imagine this mighty couple asking Apollos a lot of questions to initiate deeper understanding of the wonder and power of God. This interaction changed the story for Apollos. He became a bold follower of Jesus Christ and a great help to those who believed in Jesus. Confidently, Apollos refuted his Jewish opponents in public debates demonstrating from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah. “What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each. I [Paul] planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth” (see 1 Corinthians 3:5-6).
When we develop relationships by asking questions, we learn and grow together. We humbly set aside preconceived ideas and expectations, and learn the heart of others as God created them. When we query each other, we respectfully acknowledge we don’t know everything about the other person. This leads to growth, interesting conversation, and honest sharing.
Frank Lauback, a missionary to the Philippines in the early to mid 1900’s, poignantly urged people to move into sincere honest conversations. He desired authentic interactions that offered space to pose questions, listen, and respond to the wonderings and longings of the soul. He moved dialogue beyond mere facts and shallow musings to profound soul revealing engagement.
I love Lauback’s exhortation in Letters by a Modern Mystic from January 26, 1930.
“In defense of my opening my soul and laying it bare to the public gaze in this fashion, I may say that it seems to me that we really seldom do anybody much good excepting as we share the deepest experiences of our souls in this way.
It is not the fashion to tell your inmost thoughts, but there are many wrong fashions, and concealment of the best in us is wrong. I disapprove of the usual practice of talking “small talk” whenever we meet, and holding a veil over our souls.
If we are so impoverished that we have nothing to reveal but small talk, then we need to struggle for more richness of soul.
As for me I am convinced that this spiritual pilgrimage which I am making is infinitely worth while, the most important thing I know of to talk about. And talk I shall while there is anybody to listen. And I hunger – O how I hunger for others to tell me their soul adventures.”
Do you struggle for more richness of soul in your conversations?
Let questions open doors to sharing soul adventures.
The next time you find yourself interacting with someone, listen and ask questions. Purely pay attention to their heart and words. Experience the unveiling of their soul. Just as Jesus posed questions to instigate awareness and growth, allow authentic curiosity and wonder to flood your conversations.
Not sure what questions to ask to lead into the sharing of soul adventures? Here are a few ideas:
- How is your soul?
- Who is God to you right now?
- What is on your heart today?
- What do you need?
- Describe a high and low today.
- What gives you life?
- How are you stuck right now?
- Where do you notice God?
- What is your prayer life like?
Let’s share soul adventures by engaging in conversations that change through the powerful use of questions.
How is it with your soul today?
Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.
Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”
Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Check out these suggested readings.
Martin Copenhaver. Jesus Is the Question: The 307 Questions Jesus Asked and the 3 He Answered. Nashville, TN. 2014.
Joanne J. Jung. The Lost Discipline of Conversation: Surprising Lessons in Spiritual Formation Drawn from the English Puritans. Grand Rapids, MI. 2018.
Puddles for Prayer: Thank you for praying for upcoming travel and speaking engagements.
October 26 – Denver, CO
My son, Sammy, gets married to a beautiful young woman, Emily, on October 26th. Would appreciate prayer for a blessed celebration. Thank you!