Have you ever had that awkward sense of feeling slightly off kilter and not knowing why? Being uncomfortable in your own skin and not knowing what it is that is bothering you so much? Almost like there is something about yourself you don’t know?
There is an ancient Greek saying, know thyself… that encourages us to reflectively search our own hearts; to discover our inner thoughts, the source of our emotions, feelings and fears. It’s great advice, but can it really be done?
The prophet Jeremiah almost makes the task of knowing ourselves seem impossible as he makes this painfully accurate observation, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked…” The statement is followed by this question, “…Who can know it?”
On the one hand, the Greeks are giving good advice, know thyself, and on the other hand, the Bible reveals the difficulty of the task and warns us of what we are sure to uncover – it’s not a pretty sight.
In a sense, maybe we know ourselves well enough to know we don’t really want to know ourselves! Maybe we are quite comfortable covered in fig leaves?
Part of me wants to know “the whole truth and nothing but the truth”, while part of me runs for cover – exposure is a frightening proposition, even self-exposure.
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12-13)
I’ve read that passage four or five times now and the more I read it the faster my heart seems to race… I feel it penetrate the darkness of my own heart, like a searchlight that has finally found its target. I’m caught and there is nowhere to hide regardless of how hard I try, or how fast I run.
The heart can be known; in fact it is known by God. I too can know my own heart, by choosing to “expose” myself to God’s Word and allowing it to do it’s penetrating work. Or I can hide, but I can’t hide forever, one day I will give account.
God’s Word is far from being simply ink printed on pages. It is alive, powerful and penetrating – soaking in it can be a painful process, but it is always freeing. We can know the truth about ourselves and we can know who God really is. That truth that has the power to set us free.
He died so we could be free… not afraid.