What would you consider as the most important thing for your existence? Many Christians would answer that it would be finding God or loving, knowing, and serving Him. However people express it, most would say something about God but would not make any reference to self.
In all of the things God created only humans are challenged to know their identity. Frogs knows exactly what they are. They are never tempted into being anything than what they are, a frog. They do not face a myriad of complex and complicated decisions in the process of becoming. All things God created give Him glory by being exactly what God created them to be. Human beings, on the other hand, face a more challenging existence because they consider options, make decisions, act, and doubt. Simply being who God created them to be is tremendously difficult to achieve.
For us humans, there is no question that the journey toward establishing ourselves in Christ and rooting our identity in Him is dramatically different from the self-fulfillment promoted by pop psychology. The goal of our spiritual journey is the transformation of self. We see this more fully in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” This journey is going to require that we know ourselves and God. Both are required to discover our true identity “in Christ.” Because it is in the self that we meet God.
We all face the constant drama in our souls of not being what we were designed by God to be. “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 in me,” (Romans 7:18-20). We feel like frauds-a sense of being not what we pretend to be but what we pretend not to be. We put on masks to cover and avoid the feelings of vulnerability, settling for pretense knowing our truly authentic self seems too hard to obtain.
Underneath the roles we play and masks we wear lies the possibility of a self that is unique to us. It is as original to us as when God first loved us into existence. Our true self-in-Christ is the only self that will support the authenticity that provides an identity that is eternal.
The desire to be unique and authentic is a spiritual desire. Both of these are the response of our spirits to the Holy Spirit calling us to our identity in Christ. Becoming our unique selves is what God desires for us because our true selves are designed to be grounded in Christ. Finding and living out our true selves is to fulfill our destiny.
We have tendency to focus on knowing God and ignore ourselves. When we leave out ourselves in Christian spirituality the result is a spirituality that is not well grounded in experience. When we focus on God and do not know ourselves well an external form of piety is formed. This focus leaves a gap between appearance and reality, it is the looking good without being good.
Transformational knowledge is personal and not just objective. It will involve knowing of and not just knowing about. It grows out of a relationship to the object that is known whether it is God or self. Knowing God and knowing self are interdependent. When we don’t have a deep personal knowing of God we will be limited in the depth of knowing of ourselves. Therefore, when we are afraid to look deeply at ourselves, we will be afraid to look deeply at God.
Take a few moments with a critical eye, not a condemning and rejecting eye, and think about what have you learned about yourself as a result of your relationship with God? What do you know about God as a result of a deep look at yourself? Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by guilt. Hear God’s call to develop a deep personal relationship with you as a loving invitation and not as reprimand. This is an invitation to step out of your comfort zone and meet the Lord in the vulnerability of your deep inner chaos. It is an invitation to a deep personal knowing way beyond objective knowledge. May you accept the invitation to truly know God.