If we are not aware, we should beware. One of the pastors of my church recently talked about self-awareness. I have to be honest; when he introduced the subject of his talk, I wondered if he’d caught the New Age train and if this was going to be just another one of those motivational speeches we often hear at mega-churches. There’s so much of it out there banging on our mind’s door to be let in. Happily, I realized that was not the case. When he began setting the stage for the talk, I then thought of somebody else who desperately needed to be in the audience but wasn’t there. I was already aware of myself. Why would I need to hear it? He (the pastor) informed us that we all have blindspots. Not the blindspots that could potentially affect our driving, but the spiritual ones.
For example, he said, “Some people say they love Jesus but then turn around and treat the people with whom they work as less-than. Maybe they’re not as significant. Some people say they love Jesus, but their lives are turned upside down with patterns of addiction. Some people say they love Jesus, and they are so driven to have more and more things. Before they know it, they’re in so much debt that they can’t function at all anymore. They’re stuck. Some people say they love Jesus, but they’re so insecure that they will say or do almost anything to be accepted by other people.” In other words, he said, “The truth about you is that you don’t always know the truth about you.”
The pastor goes on: The Bible has a lot to say about self-examination. Why? Because we all have the potential to be self-deceived. David prayed to God in Psalms 139 asking Him to search him and to know him. Not because God didn’t know him but because David wanted God to show him who he (David) truly was.
Me: Now, that’s a difficult prayer to pray if our hearts aren’t right with God. Wouldn’t you agree? I mean, if I’m doing something I want to do that I know to be contrary to what God says in His word, I don’t want to be accountable to Him or to anyone else. It would be pure torture to be so vulnerable to ask God to show me my wickedness and to test me, as I already know I’m doing wrong. I’d then be pressured to stop those pleasurable wrong things. Ouch. No thanks.
The pastor: If we read the verses in the beginning of Psalms 139, we see that God already knows David. He says in verses 1-4, You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my going out and my lying down. You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, Lord, You know it completely. We see here that we don’t need to invite God to search us because He has already done it. He already knows us. David had to get to a place spiritually where he needed to invite God to help him know himself. Quoting the pastor, “Maybe we could pray a prayer like this, God would you let me know as much truth about me as I can bear?”
Me: God will indeed tell you. He has told me. If your heart is repentant and fully seeking Him, He will tell you. You will know. If your heart isn’t quite there, if it’s unrepentant, then God might be silent just like you. He wants your whole heart and not just a tiny corner of it.
The pastor poses a question: “Do you like who you’re becoming? When thinking about answering this question in all its vulnerability, you must be honest. It takes a fair amount of courage. If your answer is, no, then why not do something about it? No need to feel guilty here. There are times we all, in our humanness, don’t like who we’re becoming. If we could just have the desire to ask Jesus to do what He does best, to shine a light into our dark places…”
The pastor continues: “He eventually shined the light on Peter, who, after denying he ever knew Jesus a total of 3 times, quit. He had so much guilt and shame over what he did that he quit his life with Jesus and went back to his old job of fishing. Because it was more comfortable to quit than to face his guilt, he avoided it. He ran away. In the meantime, Jesus was crucified, buried, and came back to life. He then met Peter on the beach and asked him not once, but 3 times, Do you love me? Not to introduce guilt, but to shine a light on Peter’s darkness. Jesus’ whole point was to let Peter know He wasn’t done with him! It wasn’t over! His best days were still ahead! He told Peter that His grace and His love for him would go so far beyond his denial or anything else he’d ever done! Jesus’ point was to make Peter aware of what was really going on! Same thing happened with the woman at the well in Samaria. Because of her reputation, she felt she had to go to the well to draw water only in the afternoon. Because nobody was there during the heat of the day, she could avoid coming in contact with other women of the town. Only one day, Jesus happened to be there. He told her to go and get her husband, and she told him she didn’t have a husband. He told her He knew that. He told her she had had 5 husbands and that the one currently living with her was not her husband. Jesus didn’t say these things to make her feel guilty because she had plenty of that already; it was to make her aware of her sin. Jesus wanted her to know that even though the life she was choosing to live was leaving her unsatisfied, He could satisfy her every thirst, every need; He could provide living water so she’d never thirst again. But she, like Peter, had to be made aware. He made both of them aware of their sin problem.”
All you have to do, like these 2 people referred to above, is to ask Jesus to make you aware of what He already knows about you. Invite Him into the midst of your sin problem. Be made aware and receive grace and forgiveness. Get real freedom.