Earlier, I talked about premises and how important they are in determining the rest of what we do. In this article, I’ve put together a bunch of questions to help dig into some of the premises we have.
This certainly isn’t a comprehensive list of questions, so if you have others you’d like to add, let me know in the comments.
Otherwise, run through some of these to see where your answers take you.
For each question, I think the answer you (honestly) choose will drastically affect your overall motivation and as a result, the daily, practical steps you take in life. While you’re answering, though, don’t worry so much about where you’ll end up – just focus on where you’re starting.
40 questions to help clarify your premises
1. Why do I serve God?
2. Why do I serve others? Do I actually enjoy it, or do I do it because I know I should?
3. Are people basically good or basically bad? Or both?
4. What is a Christian?
5. Why am I a Christian?
6. Should I try to get other people to become Christians? Why?
7. In general, how do I define success? Can I measure it, and if yes, how?
8. What’s most important to me (as measured by the amount of time/energy/resources I put into it)?
9. If I scheduled out my perfect day, what would it look like?
10. At what point do I know to quit what I’m doing to pursue something better?
11. What’s the most important thing I can share with others?
12. Is there an ultimate purpose for everything I do? If yes, what is it?
13. What’s the essential component of a relationship for me? In other words, what does every relationship have to have for it to work?
14. How does sin affect my relationship with God?
15. What am I willing to give up to help someone else?
16. How hard am I willing to work (measured in time and guts) to help someone else?
17. Should my finances reflect God’s will in my life? Do they?
18. How important is doctrine in everyday life?
19. How much authority does the Bible have? Do I try to interpret it to fit my other beliefs outside the Bible, or do I try to interpret it in its own context regardless of my other beliefs?
20. When two people disagree about how the Bible should be interpreted, can both be right? How do I decide who is?
21. How involved is the Holy Spirit in my daily life? How much power can He give me?
22. What’s the purpose of the (Old Testament) Law?
23. What’s the point of baptism… both kinds (water and Holy Spirit)?
24. Do I respect people because they’re respectable or because I just want to respect them regardless?
25. What is the gospel (the “good news”)?
26. Why do I read the Bible?
27. Why is fellowshipping with other Christians important? Or why isn’t it?
28. How important is unity among Christians? How far should I go and how far am I willing to go to preserve it?
29. When should I submit to people even if I don’t agree with them?
30. Do I need to serve others to be a better Christian?
31. Who should help the poor and the widows and the orphans? How does that play out practically?
32. Is doing something to please people a good idea? If yes, when?
33. How much responsibility do I have for the actions I take? How much is God’s responsibility?
34. How is my interaction with Christians different from my interaction with non-Christians? How should it be different?
35. What does “relevant” mean, and how does it affect the way I help and share with others?
36. When is doubt good? When is it bad?
37. What is faith? Truth? Love?
38. Who was/is Jesus?
39. At any particular moment, how do I decide who to serve?
40. How should I find answers to these questions? How should I confirm that the answers are correct?
These are purposely huge questions. Take your time and dig into them. Because your answers here matter… big time.
(1) Here’s what I did: I wrote out each of these questions (you could just print them), and then I answered them one by one. It took a couple weeks, even with just one sentence answers, but it helped me at least clarify my thoughts.
(2) Advanced challenge: add a practical example to each of your answers showing how your answers might apply in a real life situation.
(3) From there, it’s a matter of reviewing these again and again… because knowing intellectually isn’t worth much. It’s a matter of making them a part of who we are.