Knowing God and Knowing Ourselves: the promise of self-discovery

Knowing God and knowing ourselves go hand in hand. A prominent church teacher wrote in The Institutes of the Christian Religion, “Nearly all the true wisdom we might have, that is to say true wisdom and sound wisdom, consist of two parts: the knowledge of God and the knowledge of ourselves.” This reflection speaks to the promise of self-discovery as a result of a genuine relationship with God.

Jesus assured us that the “Holy Spirit would lead us and guide us into all truth.” It is my view, the “truth” Jesus was speaking about in this verse is the secret influences of the Spirit that lead us to self-discovery and the knowledge of God. We are not suggesting that many who don’t ascribe to faith are not capable of self-discovery, they are indeed. The point is, the community of faith is given a sure-fire promise of self-discovery coupled with knowing God.

The Spirit’s work is very subtle but perceptible: like the soft but thundering sound of the ocean waves that gush over the beach. Through the work of the Spirit, either in our quiet time, during challenges and disappointments, the appearance of new opportunities, exchanges between colleagues, friends or family members – we can learn something new about ourselves. We thought we had ourselves pretty much figured out, how we should act or think about something, someone or ourselves. But through these experiences we see ourselves from a different angle: a different way to think and act toward God, ourselves, and others.

Unfortunately, I have known far to many in the community of faith who are so stuck in their thinking. Introspection is painful because any change would be in opposition to previous beliefs and convictions that they are not willing to modify. As Christians, self-discovery through the Spirit’s influence is designed to give us a better life, to think about things in a better way, and to find peace and contentment because we know God and ourselves in a better way. To some this process is easier, to others much harder. God has good intentions for you and self-discovery is one of the ways He helps us to feel at peace with ourselves and with God.

Joseph C. Hutchison, Rochester Hills, Michigan 201

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