Knowing Who YOU Are

Would you like to be happier in life, be better at what you do, and enjoy richer relationships?  Sounds like an ad for a self-help book, doesn’t it? There is a choice we can make that will help us to achieve those things, as well as to serve and please God better. Here it is –  Know who you are and be content.  Trying to be someone else, creating a fake public image, and/or lying to yourself about your reality will only make you miserable.

Socrates, the ancient Greek philosopher, said that a life of self-awareness was the key to success.  He said it simply – ‘Know thyself.’  People who learn to understand themselves gain the ability to respond rather than react, to choose to maximize their strengths more than to try to minimize their weaknesses, to anticipate challenges and prepare than to become overwhelmed.

There is a story from young David’s life. He went to see his brothers who were serving in Israel’s army.  At the battlelines, he saw the Philistine’s hero, Goliath, sneeringly challenge Israel to send a man to fight him. David saw the man’s words as an affront to the living God and volunteered to go to battle. His brothers mocked him but he knew his true strength was his faith in God, not his muscular might.

When King Saul tried to give David his own armor for the coming fight, the teenager told him –  “I can’t go in these,” he protested. “I’m not used to them.” So he took them off again. He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them in his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across to fight Goliath.” (1 Samuel 17:38-40, NLT)  God gave that humble kid a victory that day!

In the Gospels, we meet a man whose choice to know he was, to live within his calling, should inspire us.  His name? John, the Baptist.  He was Jesus’ cousin, a preacher who gathered crowds, with a message of spiritual renewal. He was well into his public ministry when Jesus came along. When Jesus had called some of His disciples and began to preach, His crowds were larger! 

“John’s disciples came to him and said, “Teacher, the man you met on the other side of the Jordan River, the one you said was the Messiah, is also baptizing people. And everybody is going over there instead of coming here to us.” John replied, “God in heaven appoints each person’s work. You yourselves know how plainly I told you that I am not the Messiah. I am here to prepare the way for him—that is all. The bride will go where the bridegroom is. A bridegroom’s friend rejoices with him. I am the bridegroom’s friend, and I am filled with joy at his success. He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” (John 3:26-30, NLT)

John could easily have allowed pride to overtake him. He could have felt jealousy over the success of this newcomer. He did not because he was aware of his calling, his identity, and his spiritual gifts.  When he says, “He must become greater,  I must come less,” he meant it because he was content to be who God had called him to be, fulfilling the ministry to which God appointed.

Are you trying to wear another’s armor
for your battles in life?

Are you secretly wishing you were someone else,
perhaps even being an imitation of that person?

Do you measure your life by the ‘success’ of somebody else
instead of faithfulness in your own place
and with your own opportunities?

There’s nothing wrong with desiring excellence, reaching higher, but be careful about trying to do it by walking the road prepared for someone else. God has made you, given you unique gifts and abilities. He will forgive your failures, lead you to develop your life in a richer way, IF you will humbly walk with Him, beginning right where you are.

Self-awareness is not gained in a moment or a day. Old habits do die hard.  Values and ideas are planted in our consciousness long before we are mature and they shape us from the shadows. Disappointments and failures, successes and victories, continue to wield influence long after the event. But, growth is possible, at every age, for every person.

God, the Spirit, will make us ‘new creations,’ a possibility that Christ Jesus offers to us through faith. In Him we are no longer slaves to sin, no longer without choice.  The Spirit wants to lead us to full lives, to the exercise of our unique gifts, and to be fruitful and effective in our service.  Know thyself, God helping you.

The word from the Word encourages me.  Meditate prayerfully on it and ask God to make you content in your own skin, even as He leads you to faithful service.

As God’s messenger, I give each of you this warning: Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are all parts of his one body, and each of us has different work to do. And since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others.

God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out when you have faith that God is speaking through you. If your gift is that of serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, do a good job of teaching. If your gift is to encourage others, do it! If you have money, share it generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. Don’t just pretend that you love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Stand on the side of the good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.

Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically. Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble, and always be prayerful.” (Romans 12:3-12, NLT)

(Video of this blog at this link)


Have Thine Own Way

Have Thine own way Lord have Thine own way
Thou art the Potter I am the clay
Mold me and make me after Thy will
While I am waiting yielded and still

Have Thine own way Lord have Thine own way
Search me and try me Master today
Whiter than snow Lord wash me just now
As in Thy presence humbly I bow

Have Thine own way Lord have Thine own way
Wounded and weary help me I pray
Power all power surely is Thine
Touch me and heal me Savior divine

Have Thine own way Lord have Thine own way
Hold o’er my being absolute sway
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only always living in me

© Words: Public Domain

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