Directive questioning is a great conversational way to find out the background, values, and spiritual address of a person. People like to talk about themselves. When you ask a series of questions about them, beginning with the general and moving to value related and then spiritual questions, you can gain a lot of insight into a person’s spiritual address.
When referring to spiritual address I am writing about where a person is in their saving relationship to Jesus Christ. I use the term “spiritual adddress” because each of us is in a different location spiritually. Some people you talk to may be very close to Jesus Christ. Jesus himself referred to this when when aswering the question of one of the lawers of his day. He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God” (Mark 13:34, NIV). This lawyer was not in the kingdom of God. He did not have a saving relationship with Jesus, but he was close. Likewise, other people may be very far away in their saving relationship to Jesus Christ. They may be hostile to the message of the cross. Directive questions help you to find the general proximity of a persons spiritual address.
There is one more question that I use in the acrostic F.I.R.E. The “E” in this acrostic stands for “Eternal”. This question will help in almost all cases of discussion to find out exactly where a person is spiritually. The answer to this question will tell you in what the person believes will bring eternal life or salvation. The “E” in F.I.R.E. is for the eteranal question: What do you think God requires for a person to have eternal life?
This question is one you want to ask after you have built some rapport with the person you are talking with. It is a question you want to ask after you have already moved to the subject of spiritual things. This question is too abrupt to ask without another question as a spiritual introduction to the subject matter. That, to a great extent is the purpose of the “R” question in F.I.R.E. Other questions before the “E” question could be, “Would you consider yourself a spiritual person?” or “Do you ever think about spiritual things?” Sometimes a person will talk about their religious background. That is ok, because you are still on the subject.
When asking the eternal question, you may have to wait a moment for their response. It’s a big question. Think about it, you have just asked them a question concerning the meaning to all of life and eternity. It may take a moment for them to process that. Some will answer that they don’t know what God requires. This is a perfect opportunity for you to ask permission to share with them out your experience what the Bible has to say about this. Others may give you a “works” answer such as: “Do the best you can” or “keep the 10 commandments”. I actually had a woman in a home visit reply to this question by saying, “You get eternal life by keeping the 10 Commandments.” I replied, “That certainly is a high standard, tell me do you know what the 10 Commandments are?” She tried to name them but only got out “Do not murder”, “Do not commit adultery”, and “Do not steal.” When I went over the other commandments, she admitted that they had not kept them all, then in an expression of realization she said, “I think we are all in trouble.” I agreed with her and said, “If having eternal life is dependent on our keeping the 10 Commandments, then we are in trouble, but the Bible talks about another way. Can I share that with you?” She agreed and that night she placed her faith in Jesus Christ alone.