There are certain questions in life which you discover are just not wise to ask. I am finding this out slowly and often the hard way. At face value, many of these questions seem harmless and routine, but—depending on the context in which they are asked—can get you in deep woods.
For example, “How much did that cost?” is not a good opening question to ask my wife after she has returned from a shopping spree (I can help you single men!). “About how much longer are you going to be?” asked of your wife on a Sunday morning as you are waiting to leave for church is also not a very good idea. The question, “Did you get your hair cut?” asked a week after the fact can jeopardize your evening.
I admit, as a husband, I can come up with some really bad questions.
There is a question, however, that tops the list in terms of Most Dangerous. It may appear completely innocent and even polite. It is one of the most frequently asked questions in social settings. It is:
“How are you doing?”
This question tends to feed our natural self-centeredness and leads us down a ruinous path where the fixation is on our works, our efforts, our behaviors . . . what we are doing. And that is when we get into trouble.
In the book of Matthew, there is a story which illustrates this point. The disciples are in a boat at sea in the middle of the night. A storm suddenly overtakes them. Jesus appears walking on the water. The disciples freak. Peter eventually plucks up enough nerve to ask Jesus to invite him out on the water if it is really him. Jesus smiles. Peter gets out of the boat, takes a few steps, and then starts sinking (see ch. 14:22-33).
Peter’s problem began the moment he took his eyes off Jesus—when other things eclipsed his vision of Christ.
It is no different with us. We easily and quickly look away from Christ to other things for our security. And when we do, we go down.
If we are to “walk on water” and live supernaturally, we must fight against this sinful bent and keep our eyes where they belong. Our focus must be on God and what he has done.
What has God done?
He has created a new reality for us in Christ. He has declared us righteous in his Son (2 Cor. 5:21). We are his workmanship, his temple, his sons and daughters (Eph. 2:10; 1 Cor. 3:16; Gal. 3:26, respectively). We are a chosen people, a holy nation, a people belonging to God (1 Pet. 2:9).
Calvary changes the information about who you are. God’s actions in Christ radically alter our status and identity. This, in turn, changes our behavior. It leads to “water-walking” (i.e., holy living).
Living out our sanctification requires that we daily remember his justification. It is going back to the certainty of our objectively secured position in Christ and hitting the refresh button a hundred times.
More than a thousand things will cry out to you daily: “You are a failure, a loser! You can’t do it!” Circumstances will repeatedly reveal your ineptitude, incompetence, and inadequacies. If you allow the evidence around you to overshadow the truth God has written over you—that is, if you get your eyes off Christ and onto yourself, you will sink.
The question we should be asking each other regularly is, “What has Christ done for you? What has Christ’s life of obedience, death, and resurrection secured for you? What do you possess in him?”
The key to spiritual health is seeing ourselves in Christ. This was the Apostle Paul’s testimony: “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. . . . If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Cor. 5:16-17).
This is not mind over matter—some game of mental gymnastics or wishful thinking. This is our reality as believers. Christ is our life (Col. 3:4). He is our wisdom, holiness, and redemption (1 Cor. 1:30). “Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let him who boasts boast in the Lord’” (1 Cor. 1:31).