Self-Knowledge in Light of the Gospel
Scripture: Psalm 139; Lamentations 3:40–57; 2 Corinthians 13:5–10
As Christians, we are called to deny ourselves, not to be ignorant of ourselves. In fact, becoming more self-aware is an important step in living more vulnerably with our spouse. We also find an inextricable connection between knowing oneself and knowing God. Much of seeing God’s bigness depends on seeing our own smallness. Understanding God’s holiness hinges on grasping and grappling with our own sinfulness. Accurately perceiving God’s limitlessness brings our own limits sharply into focus.
We echo Augustine’s prayer, “Grant, Lord, that I may know myself that I may know thee,” because without knowing our true nature we cannot know God’s.
The difference between God’s call to self-knowledge and the world’s is a matter of motivation, or centrality. The world’s call to self-knowledge is self-centered, whereas the biblical call to self-knowledge is Christ-centered.
Self-knowledge that leads to pride and self-worship is self-centered. Self-knowledge that leads to humbleness and God-worship is Christ-centered.
You and I exist as characters in God’s redemptive story, where Christ is the center. Self-knowledge in light of the gospel equips us to play our non-leading roles in God’s story more faithfully, because knowing who we truly are always leads us to the foot of the cross.
Biblical authors also model introspection as a way of aligning our hearts with God’s. Looking inward, David cried out to God, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139:23–24).
The lamenter writes, “Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!” (Lamentations 3:40). In Paul’s final words to the Corinthian church, he warns them in no uncertain terms: “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (2 Corinthians 13:5).
The Bible calls believers to consistent, healthy, and Christ-centered introspection for our good and for God’s glory. As we get to know ourselves as a means of being made holy, serving each other, and knowing God more faithfully, our marriages grow stronger, more transparent, and more loving.
Spend time in prayer, speaking out loud Psalm 139:23–24.