“Meaningful relationships are built by asking questions—not by making statements.”

Too many inexperienced or misinformed church leaders assume their job description is solving problems and providing answers. Jesus’ ministry style was the very opposite. Many of today’s TV evangelists, radio’s host on “The Bible Answer Man,” and a plethora of books, CD’s, and now social media gurus are offering the quick and easy answers.

Ninety-nine percent of the time, Jesus either kept silent, returned with His own question, or gave an illustration. Quick answers without a relationship may satisfy the speaker’s ego’s demand for immediate satisfaction and closure but they do little to change a person’s heart or behavior.

Why did Jesus ask 307 questions in the four Gospels? I believe He wanted some people to reposition themselves, make others deal with their own prejudices or break out of doublemindedness. By asking questions, He was constantly challenging people’s image of God, their worldview, or causing them to think creatively. Jesus knew most people are unable to adequately deal with their own inner conflicts and how they associate with others, many times with their closest friends and even family members.

However, Jesus was not some systematic theologian walking around trying to impress people with His intellect or dogmas. Most called Him Rabbi, Teacher. He constantly looked for hungry hearts to engage, not with challenging statements, but with penetrating questions. Today it seems there is no lack of “experts” trying to control and manipulate people by providing easy answers to life’s most difficult problems. Quite the contrary, there is a great lack of those who know how to ask penetrating questions that cause people to search deep into their own hearts for the answers they so desperately seek.

Are you one of those looking for the next easy quick fix? Don’t become addicted to microwave solutions that seldom work for the long haul. They only continue the disappointment when you realize the “fix” doesn’t last.
The first question Jesus asked was in John 1:38, “What are you looking for?” He did not address their sins, failures, or unfaithfulness. He did not accuse or confront. He asked a question rooted in compassion and love. He called out their deepest desire with a question filled with hope. Why? Because He was establishing a relationship, not conducting a trial. He wasn’t rejecting them, despising them, or dismissing them. According to John 3:17, His motive was always love—never condemnation.

Your deepest desires hold your greatest opportunities to become your personal best and God’s intended destiny. They also hold your greatest power to make significant change–not only in your own life, but in the lives of those who touch or experience your influence. However, you must trust your Heavenly Father and name them before they will come to pass. (Mark 11:24)

You must channel those deep desires toward God and His Kingdom. Only then does true transformation take place, first in you and then in those you love. Relationships are all about others, not just for your personal benefit. Never make yourself the center of your own joy. Even mirrors are ultimately for the benefit of others, not yourself.

When Jesus asked that first question, notice their immediate response. They asked Him a question, “Where are you staying?” You must never forget, what you are looking for will always be found where Jesus is staying. Acts 17:28 says, “In Him we live, and move, and have our being.” Too many look for God when needs appear out of nowhere or unexpected trouble shows up. That’s why it pays to, “Abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”

P.S. Do you want to build great relationships? Then quit making so many statements, no matter how profound you may think they are. And don’t forget to ask Jesus’ most frequent question, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:45)