Most people are not very self-aware. You wouldn’t think so. “Who knows me better than I do? you think. “I know my inner thoughts. I know when I am angry, when I hurt, when I’m embarrassed, when I’m bored; most other people do not know this about me unless I tell them. So most really imagine they know themselves. But do they? Do they in truth know who they are?
Calvin says in the beginning of his classic Institutes of the Christian Religion, “It is certain that man never achieves a clear knowledge of himself unless he has first looked upon God’s face and then descends from contemplating Him to scrutinize himself. Thus, without a knowledge of God one is thoroughly unable to know himself, cleansed of any and all facades. There are too many who neither know God nor care to pursue knowledge of their Creator. Consequently, these immortal beings have little idea who they in fact truly are.
What knowledge can you glean from God revealing true knowledge of yourself? Your fallen nature as a human being quickly comes to mind. Your desperate need of a Savior is preeminent. Your failure to know what you were created to be and who you could potentially become. Your ultimate purpose in life escapes you, you who have not contemplated nor searched the greatness of Almighty God.
Only by scrutinizing Him do you see the massive deficiency in your own self. You can see somewhat, but not fully, how far short you fall of the glory of God. There is something missing; something really essential to your being that makes you truly human. Otherwise you are just like “the beasts that perish.
If you never look on your Designer and Creator through the eyes of the One who has known Him throughout the eternity of His being, you cannot approach the knowledge of who He is, and hence who you are as His creature.
It is truly the greatest misery to live and not know why you live and who you were created to be. You experience an existence, but unless you come to the knowledge of Him with whom you have to do, it falls miserably short of the life possible for a genuine child of the God who is.
True self-awareness is necessary for full appreciation of who you are or could be and the full satisfaction in what it is to be a child of God. It will one day be sheer misery to be immortal and realize you have failed in even coming close to what you could have been through the knowledge and the loving of Him who made you.
On the other hand, it is the ultimate joy to know you are one who has been redeemed, grasped unreservedly by His nail scarred hands. You are fully aware both of who you were and who you are. There are no surprises to pop up unexpectedly. He and you know everything that is to be known or ever discovered about you, and, with all that, you are thoroughly accepted by Him. Your sins are buried in the depths of the sea, and they are as far from His sight as the east is from the west. They are simply no more. This can hardly be imagined, but He has said it, and His word is golden. You know you perfectly because you know Him, “whom to know is life eternal.
“O Love that will not let me go, I rest my weary soul in Thee; I give Thee back the life I owe, that in Thy ocean depths its flow may richer, fuller be.
(1st verse of George Matheson’s hymn, “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go, 1882)
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