The Right Questions

“The uncreative mind can spot wrong answers, but it takes a creative mind to spot wrong questions.” —Sir Anthony Jay

This has always been a challenge for me—maybe for you, too. I can easily spot when someone gives me a wrong answer, but it’s harder to spot when I’ve asked a wrong question. It could very well be that the answer I’m hearing is correct in light of the question I asked.

But spotting wrong questions requires a humility on my part to admit I may be wrong. Spotting wrong questions requires creativity, a new way of looking at things.

There is a short story about the life of King Abijah recorded in 2 Chronicles 13 in the Bible. Abijah is the second king to reign in Judah after the 10 northern tribes had seceded. He is vastly outmanned and out-spent by King Jeroboam of the northern tribes (called Israel). When it comes to a battle between north and south, Abijah can only field half as many men as Jeroboam.

Yet it is Abijah who takes charge of the battlefield before the fighting begins. He climbs to the top of Mount Zemaraim to make sure all of the northern tribes can hear him. The wrong question would have been, “Which side is God on: Israel’s or Judah’s?” The correct question which Abijah must have asked and answered for himself—is, “Are we on God’s side?

Abijah begins to recount how God chose for a descendant of David to sit on the throne (Abijah), but northern Israel was following a rebel (Jeroboam). God intended for the descendants of Aaron to oversee the sacrifices and religious practices; Judah was doing this, but Israel had their own priests. God was to be worshipped exclusively; Judah was doing this, but Jeroboam made golden calves for Israel to worship.

So Abijah correctly concludes, “God is with us; He is our leader.”

Abijah didn’t assume God was with Judah. Abijah didn’t ask, “Does God lead us or them?” Abijah asked, “Are we doing the things that God has asked of us?” Since Judah was following God, Abijah could then state with confidence, “God is with us.”

The question is not, “Is God on your side?” It’s better to ask, “Am I on God’s side?

The question is not, “What would Jesus do if He was here?” It’s better to ask, “What did Jesus already do that I can follow?

What questions are you asking? Change your questions and you just may change your life.

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