The Importance of the Question ‘Why’
When we are born, we come into the world without preconceived ideas on how things are done. We are born into a family which has its own way of doing things – its own culture, as it were. Automatically, we imbibe this culture and we do things a particular way because ‘this is how we have always done it’. For instance, I grew up with the family eating meals together at the dining table. Now, as an adult in her own home, we eat at the dining table because that is what is normal to me (and fortunately, to my husband as well). In some homes, teeth are brushed first thing in the morning while in others, they are brushed after breakfast. A husband and wife from these two backgrounds can fight for years about which is the right way because we all feel the way we were brought up must be the right way.
The same thing holds for a new born baby in Christ. The church (or more correctly, local assembly) they attend has its own culture and doctrinal leanings which are imbibed automatically. It might be how they believe Christians should dress, recreate, pray, give, etc. This is why one can almost always place a Christian in a denomination based on their attitudes and lifestyle, just by relating with him or her. That is the power of culture, whether in the world or in the church.
As one grows and matures, one should ideally get to a point where we begin to question why we do things the way we do them. Particularly for Christians whose desire is to live life as Christ has exemplified and as guided by the written word of God. There must be a point when we seek to align our lives – right from our thought processes – to the will of God and it is at this point that we begin to ask the question ‘WHY’. The bible says,
“For we have the living Word of God, which is full of energy, and it pierces more sharply than a two-edged sword. It will even penetrate to the very core of our being where soul and spirit, bone and marrow meet! It interprets and reveals the true thoughts and secret motives of our hearts.”
(Hebrews 4:12 TPT)
With God, it’s all about our motives. Motive is ‘a reason for doing something’. While men look at and are impressed by the outward appearances – our words and actions, God is not. He looks beyond these and into our hearts to see why we said what we said or did what we did.
“….. for you are the righteous God, the soul searcher, who looks deep into every heart to examine the thoughts and motives.”
(Psalm 7:9 TPT)
“We may think we know what is right, but the Lord is the judge of our motives.”
(Proverbs 16:2 CEV)
“You may believe you are doing right, but the Lord judges your reasons.”
(Proverbs 21:2 NCV)
1 Corinthians 3:10-15 makes it clear that God will judge the works that we do. It is important to Him why we do the things we do. What I find interesting is the fact that it is only on the day of judgement that it will become apparent the fine details of what we did. Before then, we all as mere mortals will only see that work is being done and assume that as long as there is activity and seeming progress, all is well. How differently God views things.
“Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgement day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value.”
(1 Corinthians 3:12-13 NLT)
It would seem to me that the ‘how’ in this case (that is, how we build) also incorporates the ‘why’. Here is why I think the ‘why’ is most important, too, in the quality of what we are doing as Christians:
“If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.”
(1 Corinthians 13:3 NLT)
We could appear to others to be the most generous or the most helpful of people but if our motivation – the reason why we do these things – is anything other than for love (of God and of other people), it counts as nothing before God. It will not stand his judgement fire.
So, for the next few weeks, I want to ask the question ‘Why’ about some basic things we do as Christians without really thinking deeply about the reason why we do them to ensure that we are building with materials that will pass God’s test.
Let’s do our utmost to ensure we are living our lives in a manner that is pleasing to the Lord because our motives are pleasing to Him.