Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Knowing Yourself

I have kind of a weird fascination with clichés. Phrases like, “there’s no place like home,” “many hands make light work,” and “the pot calling the kettle black” may be “old as dirt”; but I still think they’re “worth a thousand words”. (Okay, I might have overdone that a little.)

One of my favorite clichés is, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” I’ve proven that one to be true more than once. It even has applications in the kingdom of God. Faith, for example, isn’t about what we know but Who we know. Jesus says, “I’m the Truth.” In other words, “You want to know the truth about life and beyond? Get to know Me. I’m it.”

Another example has to do with our purpose and mission on earth. Many Christians believe that living in Jesus’ kingdom is all about doing, doing, doing. But in truth, they’re “putting the cart before the horse” (pardon the cliché). The reality is that we live our lives based on our real beliefs about who we are. If we believe we’re strong, we’ll live courageously. If we believe we’re important, we’ll live confidently. If we believe we’re loved, we’ll live graciously. And in contrast, if we believe we’re weak, unimportant, or unloved, we’ll live in shadows and behind false masks. Being produces doing. Identity yields lifestyle.

Jesus’ came to change our being so dramatically that it would also transform our doing. It’s a transformation that moves from inside to outside, as He tells the busy-for-God Pharisees, “first clean the inside of the cup so that the outside may become clean also” (Matthew 25:26). Every aspect of living out our purpose and mission on earth is rooted in knowing who we are - especially in relation to God. “It’s not what you know, but who you know.”

So here’s my question... Do you know yourself? I mean for real. Do you know who you are? Everything depends on that. Ask yourself right now. Listen to the feelings that emerge from your heart. Now compare those feelings with the truth of God’s word. Do they line up? If not, then it’s time to begin dialoging with God and with your heart about it. Read through the Psalms and the Gospels. Who does God say you are? Let your heart absorb the truth.

As we begin to truly believe that we are highly acceptable, significant, capable children in God’s family and partners on God’s team... living as radiant lights in a dark world... we’ll begin to act like it. We’ll begin esteeming, loving, and intervening for others who still don’t know who God is and still don’t know who they themselves are. When we learn who we really are as individuals - created and redeemed by God - then we’ll begin living out our life-giving mission on earth. Because after all, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

And “you can say that again.”


Quentin Mullinix said...

Thanks for this post, John. I agree that this is definitely important to wrestle through. Knowing God and knowing self are probably the two most important issues that any person should pursue. I certainly used to be one of those who was consumed with "just the facts" without really engaging in a true and deep relationship with Christ. Later, I did a pendulum swing to the other side. I was so focused on my relationship with Christ, that I allowed my mind to become absent in the process, almost in an Eastern religious sense. Who you know is no doubt very important with the addition of what you know which is complimentary to our walk with God. 2 Peter 1:5-7 "Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge; and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness; and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love."

John Lynch said...

Thanks for the dialog, Quentin!

I share your desire to embrace both Love and Truth without imbalance or dualistic separation. I think I might differ a little, though, on the emphasis of "what" we know.

I'm growing increasingly convinced that the "what" is an automatic by-product of the "Who" that is Jesus. Or another way of saying it might be that the "Who" always produces the "what"... but the "what" doesn't necessarily lead to the "Who."

I agree that the exhortation to knowledge is important; but Colossians 1 (another growth list like 2 Peter 1) clarifies the object of that knowledge. It says in vs. 9 "walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God".


Quentin Mullinix said...

"Who" always produces the "what"... but the "what" doesn't necessarily lead to the "Who."--This is a good clarification. Thanks, John.