Conversations with Jesus seemed to leave people not only awestruck but also exposed. Jesus brilliantly asked questions that pierced through surface matters and probed heart longings, desires and motivations. Jesus cared and still cares about the heart because he knows that good and evil emanate from it (Matt. 15:11). Words and behaviors originate from the heart; the heart is the animating center of our lives. This is why Prov. 4:23 reads: “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flows the spring of life.”
As a church, we are in a season of leaning in to personal growth. Everyone has rough edges that need to be smoothed out by the flowing streams of God’s gentle grace. For many of us, this has become all the clearer with the changes brought on by this pandemic. A good set of heart questions that help us examine what is going on below the surface—at the heart level—are worth their weight in gold. Understanding why we need to grow provides the impetus for exploring how we might grow.
Paul Tripp, in some of his material on parenting, lays out a set of five questions that he encourages parents to ask their children to help them explore what is going on at a heart level through the various situations of life. These questions, which follow, can serve as a healthy diagnostic ritual for adults as well. They provide a grid that fosters deeper self-awareness.
- What was the situation?
- What were you thinking or feeling during it?
- What did you do to respond?
- Why did you respond the way you did?
- What was the outcome?
The next time you get into an argument with your spouse, or the next time you respond poorly to someone at work or a friend, or the next time you act out a twisted desire, find some alone time and work through these five questions.
As you call these questions to mind and spend some time reflecting, ask the Spirit to highlight anything that he might want you to know or see afresh. Bring your answers before Jesus who is gentle and lowly (Matt. 11:29). Embrace the stillness and sit with any Scriptures or words of hope, grace or invitation that come to mind. Reject any thoughts of accusation, condemnation or shame for this is not from him. Remember Jesus is tender and welcoming; He enjoys your company.