My four year-old constantly asks the question, “Why?” In fact, he asks it so frequently that sometimes I want to scream into a pillow. The reality is, however, that I am extremely thankful that he has this inquisitive mind because it makes for many teachable moments, and I’m finding that answering the why questions is more important than I ever realized before.
I’m a fan of the podcast, The Whitehorse Inn, which has the slogan, “Know What You Believe and Why You Believe it”. This phrase holds two essential exercises for the Christian. Knowing the what of Christianity is to know the content of Christianity or the doctrines of Christianity. This is an area in the American Church that needs to be addressed because many young people claiming to be Christians have been unable to articulate what they believe about some of the most essential doctrines of our Faith. But today, like my son, I want to focus on the why part of this slogan. We must know why we believe what we believe. First of all, why is it necessary to know why we believe what we believe? It’s necessary because knowing why puts wings to the what. Meaning that to know why we believe is to have our faith become committed, active and effectual. Think about it. Let’s say, your parents taught you the practice that ladies always go first, but never really taught you why you should live that way. You may keep living by that principle for years after you move out of the house, but as you do so, you hear more and more talk in the culture about how women are to be treated the same as men. As a result, you start slacking off on opening the door for ladies and letting them go first in line. If you had been also been taught the why principle from 1 Peter 3:7 that women are to be honored as “the weaker vessel” (not meaning less important, but generally more gentle and not as strong), then you would, most likely, be anchored to the practice your parents taught you even with the culture saying something different.
Christianity works the same way. When you understand why you believe what you believe, then you are anchored to a life that lives in light of what you believe because you know the utter importance of doing so. Stay tuned tomorrow when we discuss what the why actually is.