Discovery Through Questions

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Growing up in an environment where you are constantly being taught things in a community where you are constantly pressured to conform creates moments where one inevitably questions everything. You might question why you are in the environment in the first place, or why you follow what every other person in the environment is doing. You start wondering and coming up with answers as to how or why something is done. OR, you might even ask yourself if it is okay to question these things.

What if you did not grow up in the community you’re now a part of? Then you might have been brought into this community, or were intrigued by it and joined it on your own accord. Either way, you probably, from the beginning, questioned the motives behind what was being done or at least questioned why the environment functioned the ways it did. Maybe you even wondered what you were doing there.

Let me be more clear. I grew up in a Christian church. I was always taught the basics. You know what I mean – typical Bible stories, the Gospel to the extent that I could understand at that age, and what to do and what not to do. I learned to bow my head, close my eyes, and put my hands together to pray. I learned how I was supposed to be good. And I could probably sing you songs about different stories in the Bible, and answer Sunday-school questions about this book and some guy named Jesus.

What I did not understand until about half way through high school is that all of this was not as structured as I believed. <- That is not supposed to come across as negative. I believe all of these things are good. But, I was convicted at this time in high school with the idea that I was not thinking for myself. I was taught by one mentor of mine to start questioning.

We started going through popular stories in Scripture and questioning whether or not those stories were true to us. We started questioning whether or not we believed what we were reading. Exercises like these allowed me to further question as I read the Bible for myself, and as I listened to pastors teach. I questioned lyrics of songs and whether or not they were Biblical or true. Little things, like dressing up for church or wearing WWJD bracelets, became huge topics in my head. I wrestled with whether or not I wanted to take part in “Christian themes/trends.”

This was the first time I had ever really questioned things for my own personal benefit. Most times, if I questioned anything regarding faith or Jesus or anything Christian at all, I felt as though I might have been doing something wrong. That day, I was taught possibly the most valuable thing to my walk.

I learned that it was okay, and incredibly beneficial, to question if what I believed was true.

I began to think for myself and made my own decisions regarding the most important thing in my life. Was I influenced by others still? Probably. Actually, more than likely I was. But the reality of Jesus in my life, through struggling with doubt and thoughts in my head, was never more personal.

Following Jesus became more real. 

I now question just about everything. That’s how my mind works. And maybe everyone doesn’t need to constantly struggle as I do, from questions about really heavy theological things down to simple statements of faith. But I do. It helps me process and understand myself and what I believe. Jesus, by his grace, has really worked and proved himself to me when I question or doubt. It took lifting those questions or doubts up in prayer, and being very honest with myself. Yet, Jesus was loud in those moments.

The beautiful picture that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ became more clear to me as I questioned whether or not I really believed it, or whether or not I deserved it. Redemption and grace, terms that I heard so many times before, actually started having weight in my life. I’m not saying I fully understand, because most times I do not, but at least I try and discover their meaning at their depths. Most times it takes a lot to realize that understanding the Gospel looks and feels a lot like dying to myself so I might see more clearly this amazingly beautiful picture.

The point of this thought is not to cause you to start questioning every single thing you think you believe. I’m not Laurence Fishbourne from The Matrix. Rather, it is to possibly move you to at least thinking about those things. Regarding your identity and where it lies, it is important enough to ask if it lies with Jesus. 

All of this questioning has really allowed great discovery along my encounters and walking with Jesus. I encourage you to not feel as though you are doing something wrong if you question things as well.

P.S. I still struggle and wrestle with thoughts and ideas in my head and love fleshing them out through outward expression, like conversation and writing. So let’s talk about that, if you want.

P.P.S. I still struggle with “Christian trends.” Some I like, but some I joke about. I’d love to have conversations with you about what I mean by Christian themes over coffee or something.(All Christians drink coffee, right?)

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Posted on by Michael Bowman in Faith, Featured, Guest Spots

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