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There is a place where many will come, right about the same area that is the end of one’s self, and discover something that seems, to them, quite profound.
It is a place of holy worship. But, it is not first recognized as such. Rather, it is the place of discovering a small bit of just how incredibly weak one’s self is.
It is the place of self-realization.
I’m not much for the whole self-realization movement and “discovering yourself” propaganda that seems far too promoted by our society. I’m not much for it because its focus is not very biblical or correct, but rather misdirected and selfish, at least generally.
There is ultimately One Being that it really matters whether or not you know, and that is Jesus Christ, the only way to the Father (John 14:6).
Nonetheless, “knowing yourself” can be very important, in some regards. I will mainly discuss one sense of “knowing yourself” that can be very good I think.
The place of self-realization is important in the life of a Christian, who ought, at some point in his or her life, come to recognize the nature of themselves. And it is not a pleasant nature. This is the place where the Old Man is seen, and this is the place where one gains an inevitable hatred of him. This is the Flesh recognized, the Flesh understood as part of one’s self. This is where the New Creation despises the filth and slime of not itself but what is close at hand in the person.
For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.Romans 7:14-25
This place of self-realization is largely significant because of the recognition of God. God is the One to know, the most important One to know. And if He is such, it helps us know Him better to recognize how far we are from Him, how desperately wicked our hearts are (Jeremiah 17:9). This magnifies the grace of God and makes us realize how great His mercies truly are.
Thus we offer hands covered in blood, dirt, mud, dung, and urine to be washed and cleansed. We could not wash our hands ourselves, and to be unclean means certain, dreadful death. Our hands our cleansed by our Father. To offer hands just slightly dusty, though, we are not so thankful. We are not so awed. We are not so taken back by the sheer beauty and greatness of the cleansing.
Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.’Luke 7:47
The forgiveness of a mother whose children I murdered would be seen as much more immense than the forgiveness of a friend I took $2 from. It is much more incredible. And so with our God, the more we recognize our evilness and sinfulness, the wretch that we truly are at heart, the more we love Him. The more we see how great our God really is. It is a never-ceasing, ever-increasing, ever-glorifying realization.
Increasing knowledge of one’s self can be helpful in loving God better. If we increase knowledge of ourselves in truth, we gain knowledge of our wickedness. If we gain knowledge of our wickedness, we can come to understand better just how great a punishment we deserve. We come closer and closer to the end of ourselves, and thus recognize more and more how incapable we are because we. Are. Guilty.
Our major weakness is our wickedness, and our wickedness is our downfall, it is our transgression of the law. We have broken the law, and someone who breaks a law is considered a criminal. We are criminals before God, and the more we recognize how horrible we are, the more we can recognize how good God is. We can then understand a little bit more of just how much we do deserve to burn in Hell for eternity, where the worm eats but does not consume, and the fire does not stop, and the pain and darkness and aloneness is forever. The wrath of God will be pouring out consistently there, but we can escape from that.
Jesus is often pictured as a hero, and rightfully so. How could we say He is not? But He is not like the hero so often depicted in our fanciful stories and imaginary little tales. No. He is not exactly like the hero who runs in to rescue the poor, starving women and children imprisoned by some evil, gruesome rapists and slave-traders. And why?
Because He runs in not to only save the poor, starving women and children. He runs in to save the evil, gruesome rapists and slave-traders. He runs into the prison not to break out innocent, oppressed people, but to break out the serial killers, the school shooters, the pedophiles, and the sex-trafficking leaders.
Do you realize that you aren’t the innocent child that Jesus broke out of prison and removed the chains from. You aren’t the tired, innocent mother who is kept shackled and enslaved that Jesus rescues from the darkness of the dungeon. You aren’t merely either of those things. We are not that.
No, we are the murderer who Jesus lets go free. We are the homicidal father. We are the child-abuser. The terrorist. We are the wicked man in the prison cell that deserves nothing less than to rot away in his cell. And Jesus comes and sets that man free. By His exchanging of His life. By taking that punishment so we would not have to. The punishment of the slave-trader and rapist? Jesus takes that punishment. In fact,
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.2 Corinthians 5:21
There is this aspect of “discovering yourself” that is important. It is the aspect of repentance, and how it requires us to recognize who we really are: evil people not deserving of the grace of God, yet a people who nonetheless have been given it. Salvation is in the Name of Jesus Christ alone (Acts 4:12) forever and always.
because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.Romans 10:9
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.1 Timothy 1:15-17
But, having been washed by the blood of Christ, we are set apart as children by the grace and goodness of God alone. If you are saved,
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.Romans 8:1-2
Blessings to you, my brothers and sisters, and all glory to God Almighty and the Lord Jesus Christ forever. Amen.
All direct verse quotations are taken from the ESV
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