Everything I am about to write is either inspired by, or taken directly from, a wonderful article called X-ray Questions: Drawing Out The Whys And Wherefores Of Human Behavior, written by David Powlison. I would strongly encourage you to read it but since it is about nine pages long I have decided to give you the condensed version.
Functional God Versus Professed God
It’s rather easy to say that God, as described in the Bible, is the One that we love and worship. It’s quite another thing to live it out in daily life. We need to recognize that there is a difference between our professed god and our functional god. A professed god is the who or what we say our god is, while the functional god is who or what actually operates as our god. Too often the way that we live reveals that there are many other gods that have captured the affections of our heart. Here is an example of how this might play out in your life. Let’s say that after a good deal of reflection you come to the conclusion that you and your spouse spend way more time talking to your kids about sports, grades and college than you do about following hard after Christ. What is the functional god? Success? Materialism? Wealth? Image?
Here are some x-ray questions that are intended to help us scratch beneath the surface and come to grips with what is truly most important to us in our lives.
- What are you passionate about?
- What do you talk about the most?
- What do you post about (discuss) on social media?
- What do you think about most often? What do you daydream about?
- How do you spend your time?
- How do you spend your money?
- What are you goals and expectations for life?
- What do you tend to worry about?
- What really matters to you?
- Who must you please? From whom do you value approval and fear rejection?
- Who are your role models? Who are your heroes? Your hero or idol reveals who you are or who you desire to be like.
- How do you define success in life?
- What do you want to get out of life?
- What do you pray for? What we pray for reveals what we care about most.
So what do you think? Is there a difference between your professed god and your functional god? Your thoughts and ideas?