Have you ever walked away from a conversation knowing you asked all the wrong questions? Wondering what in the world you should have said to help the other person?
Asking good questions is tough.
Some people are good at it but for most of us…we have to learn. Learning to ask good questions shows we truly care and want to help others grow spiritually.
We’re going to use questions God asked Adam and Eve to learn how we can love others by asking good questions.
Here’s a PDF with the questions from today’s post: Asking Questions that Pursue the Heart
The framework for what we’re discussing comes from a sermon our pastor gave a couple of years ago. Thanks Resurrection Church for leading us so well.
A Little Background
The story that led to God’s questions is found in Genesis 3. Eve had just met up with the crafty serpent, Satan, and given into his temptation.
The allure of “being like God” and “knowing good and evil” was too much and Eve caved.
I love the adjectives used in verse 6:
It’s usually fancy packaging on a disaster.
After Eve caved, she convinced Adam to follow suit and suddenly…the pretty package crumbled to disaster.
While attempting to hide what their sin revealed, they heard God.
Funny the things we use in an attempt to cover our sin, trying to hide from God and others.
Fig leaves to cover nakedness? Desperation led them to what was close.
Never really works does it?
That’s where we’re entering the story. God showing up and asking some good loving questions.
Don’t let sin’s pretty packaging distract you from the mind-blowingly gorgeous things God has for you.
Pursuing the Heart
“But the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’ He answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.’” Genesis 3:9
Let’s clear something up first, we can’t hide from God.
We can’t even hide our thoughts from Him.
I don’t think I’ll ever understand why our flesh nature seems able to constantly convince us otherwise. I think it’s one of those head and heart issues. The mind knows we can’t hide from God but our hearts still convince us to try.
God’s first question to Adam and Eve was a pursuit question. “Where are you”.
God wasn’t going for surface level answers here. He knew where they were at – physically and emotionally.
He wanted them to reveal their hearts.
His question was asking about their faith and where they were at spiritually.
They’d been walking and talking with God everyday and now…they were hiding.
The first question we should ask ourselves and others should pursue the heart and begin unwrapping the deceptive package we’re hiding behind.
Good heart pursuit questions would be:
- What’s really going on with you right now?
- How are you really doing (while pointing at your heart and mind or with the expression on your face that reveals you want the deep meaty stuff)?
- Where are you at spiritually? Emotionally? Relationally? Etc.
- How are you dealing with fill-in-the-blank?
Challenging the Heart
“And He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked?’” Genesis 3:11a
After we’ve pursued the heart and asked good questions to determine where the other person is at, we want to challenge the heart.
Challenging the heart involves asking questions that reveal what led them to their current situation.
Adam and Eve suddenly noticed their nudity – something they were oblivious to before. Satan’s beautifully packaged lies had given them something they weren’t expecting.
We’ve all been there.
You say yes to something only to realize you’ve made a huge mistake.
Often times those mistakes are painful and damage our heart, mind, and body.
Challenging heart questions would be:
- What led you to do fill-in-blank?
- Who told you to do fill-in-blank?
- What are you believing will happen with fill-in-blank?
Hang out on these challenging questions until the Holy Spirit leads you to move on. You want to uncover and challenge any thinking that might be leading them down a path other than God’s.
Revealing the Heart
“Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” Genesis 3:11b
Questions that reveal the heart can be tough questions to ask.
But these are the questions we can’t avoid.
If we really want to ask good questions that help others get to the root of their current struggle we’ve gotta reveal what’s going on in their heart.
Your first “pursuit” question should have given you enough information to ask this next set of questions.
You don’t have to know all the details in order to ask good questions. You may even ask the wrong questions as you begin exploring where the person’s heart is at.
This set of questions should lead the person to
- name any sin (if applicable),
- allow them to confess, and
- lead them to repent.
Even if a person’s struggle is because someone hurt them, these questions can still apply.
We’ve all been hurt and responded by gossiping, becoming bitter, or even fostering hate.
Those are heart issues that need to be revealed.
Good questions for revealing the heart would be:
- Have you done fill-in-blank? This could be a behavior, attitude, or emotion.
- Is there something about how you’ve handled “x” that wasn’t what God would want?
- Was there anything you did that wasn’t right?
- Do you believe you need to confess or ask forgiveness for anything?
Leading the Heart
“Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’” the woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’” Genesis 3:13
Leading the heart is about asking questions that invoke reflection and consideration about the situation.
They lead the person to consider the consequences and potential outcomes of anything they’ve done or are considering.
Eve’s response indicated she understood what had happened and that she owned up to her response. God’s question seems a little harsh at first glance so we need to be cautious when asking these next questions.
The other person needs to know the questions are being asked with love and because you desire them to walk in victory.
Examples of questions that lead the heart would be:
- Has this situation taught you anything?
- What have you learned about yourself, others, or God from this?
- What might happen if you continue with or do fill-in-blank?
- What has your response, behavior, action caused? What could it cause?
- How would God want you to respond? What would God want you to do?
Healing the Heart
“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24
After God questioned Adam and Eve He banished them from the Garden. Sin had separated them from the intimate relationship they’d had with God.
The good news is, Jesus paid the price for all our sins and we’re no longer separated from God.
When people are struggling because of something they or someone did, they need to remember and experience healing.
Satan loves to convince us we’ll never be free from sins damages but that’s a big fat lie.
When wrapping up your time with someone, be sure to end by asking questions that heal their heart.
Good heart healing questions could be:
- Do you believe you’re forgiven? Why or why not.
- Do you feel like or believe you’ll ever heal from this? Why or why not.
- What do you believe 1 Peter 2:24 means in light of your current situation?
- Would you ask the Lord to bring healing to this situation?
- Would you ask the Lord to heal your heart, your relationship, etc.?
The questions God asked Adam and Eve were asked to connect with and pursue them. They flowed from the greatness of His love for them.
We need to remember this anytime we’re asking questions.
Even the simplest of questions, the generic “how are you?”should be
- asked with love,
- asked to connect, and
- asked because we want to pursue a genuine relationship with others.
When people are suffering, struggling with sin, wavering in their faith, wounded from hurt, anything…we have to be careful our questions don’t come across as an interrogation.
Consider prefacing your conversation by asking:
- “Would it be okay if we talk about this in a bit more detail?”
- “Would you mind exploring this a bit with me?”
- “Could we ask the Holy Spirit to guide our conversation so we can see what’s really going on?”
This won’t always be easy.
Sin causes us to hide and even “little” sins can cause people to put up a wall of defense.
If you know someone is suffering, pray and ask the Spirit to show you how and when to lovingly pursue them. Ask Him to guide your conversation and questions.
If you have any questions about what you’ve read today, please share this post with your pastor.
If you don’t have a pastor, Sarah and I would love to talk. You can always reach out to us in the comments below or privately via email here.
I pray the Holy Spirit uses the information from today’s devotional post to deepen your relationships with others and that God brings healing to those you love because of the good questions you ask to pursue their heart.