In his book, Seeing with New Eyes, David Powilson offers some very helpful diagnostic questions to uncover the ways we find life and significance apart from God.
On these questions, called “X-Ray Questions”, Powilson writes
“The questions aim to help people identify the ungodly masters that occupy positions of authority in their heart. These questions reveal ‘functional gods,’ what or who actually controls their particular actions, thoughts, emotions, attitudes, memories, and anticipations.”
Consider these questions as a way to get to the bottom of your heart, to identify and confess the sin and “functional gods” you might be looking to for life, worth, and significance, but more than that, to be at the point where you come to the end of yourself and find the loving, grace-filled arms of God meeting you in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I would suggest using these as part of a daily, weekly, or monthly review of where you are in relationship to your goals and aspirations for your devotional life and walk with God.
1. What do you love? Hate?
2. What do you want, desire, crave, lust, and wish for? What desires do you serve and obey?
3. What do you seek, aim for, and pursue?
4. Where do you bank your hopes?
5. What do you fear? What do you not want? What do you tend to worry about?
6. What do you feel like doing?
7. What do you think you need? What are your ‘felt needs’?
8. What are your plans, agendas, strategies, and intentions designed to accomplish?
9. What makes you tick? What sun does your planet revolve around? What do you organize your life around?
10. Where do you find refuge, safety, comfort, escape, pleasure, security?
11. What or whom do you trust?
12. Whose performance matters? On whose shoulders does the well-being of your world rest? Who can make it better, make it work, make it safe, make it successful?
13. Whom must you please? Whose opinion of you counts? From whom do you desire approval and fear rejection? Whose value system do you measure yourself against? In whose eyes are you living? Whose love and approval do you need?
14. Who are your role models? What kind of person do you think you ought to be or want to be?
15. On your deathbed, what would sum up your life as worthwhile? What gives your life meaning?
16. How do you define and weigh success and failure, right or wrong, desirable or undesirable, in any particular situation?
17. What would make you feel rich, secure, prosperous? What must you get to make life sing?
18. What would bring you the greatest pleasure, happiness, and delight? The greatest pain or misery?
19. Whose coming into political power would make everything better?
20. Whose victory or success would make your life happy? How do you define victory and success?
21. What do you see as your rights? What do you feel entitled to?
22. In what situations do you feel pressured or tense? Confident and relaxed? When you are pressured, where do you turn? What do you think about? What are your escapes? What do you escape from?
23. What do you want to get out of life? What payoff do you seek out of the things you do?
24. What do you pray for?
25. What do you think about most often? What preoccupies or obsesses you? In the morning, to what does your mind drift instinctively?
26. What do you talk about? What is important to you? What attitudes do you communicate?
27. How do you spend your time? What are your priorities?
28. What are your characteristic fantasies, either pleasurable or fearful? Daydreams? What do your night dreams revolve around?
29. What are the functional beliefs that control how you interpret your life and determine how you act?
30. What are your idols and false gods? In what do you place your trust, or set your hopes? What do you turn to or seek? Where do you take refuge?
31. How do you live for yourself?
32. How do you live as a slave of the devil?
33. How do you implicitly say , ‘If only…’ (to get what you want, avoid what you don’t want, keep what you have)?
34. What instinctively seems and feels right to you? What are your opinions, the things you feel true?
35. Where do you find your identity? How do you define who you are?