Theology 101

Big Decision to Make? Asking “Why” Makes All the Difference

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If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. —James 1:5

“How do I know _______________ (fill in the blank),” is a question I often get when I speak around the country.

How do I know what God wants me to do?
How do I know what my calling is?
How do I get this job?
How do I get out of this job?

I also get a lot of questions that begin with “What”:

What should I do to get the job I want?
What should I study at school?
What does God want me to do in this circumstance?

You get the picture…

While these are all very important questions, I want to suggest that there is an even more important question we should all be asking first and it starts with “Why.”

Asking “Why” Makes All the Difference

Comedian Michael Jr. clearly illustrates the importance of getting to “Why” in this three-minute video clip.

The second version of “Amazing Grace” is radically different from the first one because it comes from a different place. It come from the heart, whereas the first version comes from the head. Although beautiful, the first version could have been sung by anyone.

The incredible second version could only have been sung by someone with the experience of the man in the audience because it tapped into something he knew deeply. What Michael Jr. is suggesting in his humorous segment is that the answer to the “Why” question comes from a very different place from the answers to “How” and “What” questions.

God Is the Ultimate “Why”

C.S. Lewis attaches godly purpose to our question of “Why”  in his Reflections on the Psalms:

The Scotch catechism says that man’s chief end is “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” But we shall then know that these are the same thing. Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him.

Lewis’s answer to this short catechism question defines not only the reason for our very existence, but for the existence of the whole creation. In the opening pages of the Bible, we find the first hint of God’s original intent—the Why—for his creation.

God’s purpose in creation was that he would be glorified by everything he created. This is why God describes the finished creation on the sixth day of the creation story as “very good.” Just as a great painting reflects the glory of the master artist, the new-born creation perfectly reflects the glory of God. He created everything for His glory, including man, the crown jewel of creation.

When we reflect God’s glory, we are doing what we were created to do.

This idea is seen throughout scripture and is reconfirmed in the book of Revelation, where John writes the words of the twenty-four elders,

You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for you have created all things, and for your pleasure they are and were created (Rev. 4:11).

To glorify him in our lives is to align our Why with our What in such a way that we reflect him in everything we do. We live our lives based on his design and his desire, as faithful stewards in all things, mindful of his presence and guidance in each step of our journey.

This is why Paul can conclude in his letter to the Corinthians,

…whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God (1 Cor.10:31).

Tim Keller brings all these ideas together in this passage from his book, Walking with God through Pain and Suffering,

It fits to glorify God—it not only fits reality, because God is infinitely and supremely praiseworthy, but it fits us as nothing else does. All the beauty we have looked for in art or faces or places—and all the love we have looked for in the arms of other people—is only fully present in God himself. And so in every action by which we treat him as glorious as he is, whether through prayer, singing, trusting, obeying, or hoping, we are at once giving God his due and fulfilling our own design.

How do I know what God wants me to do? Start by asking “Why.”

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