It has been written that “To Know Thyself is a phrase, by Socrates and also an inscription at the Oracle of Delphi in Ancient Greece, used to discuss the importance of getting to know yourself. He believed that self-knowledge was important in order to find peace, happiness, and become who we were meant to be in life. Getting to know yourself is discovering and getting to know everything about who you are and who you want to be. It is about looking inside and thinking for yourself about what you like and dislike.” [s]
Know Thyself is a lofty aim. In my experience, most people don’t know themselves or even how to access who they are. It appears to be more of a life journey in discovering who were are. Moreover, our lives or persons is not static but dynamic. We are always changing either progressing or regressing, but we are always changing. I believe that when we know who we are in light of who God is and the plan He has for us that life is a beautiful experience. Life comes alive.
We are back in John 13 as an example. We look at Jesus who knew God and God’s plan for His life. Listen to the commentary about Jesus in one of the most crucial and tense times in His life.
2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
In knowing God’s plan and who He was in light of God and His plan, Jesus could take action uncommon to man. The text states that Jesus knew that:
- the Father had put all things under his power
- he had come from God and was returning to God
- he could serve man and still be who God called Him to be
In essence, I can imagine Jesus said, “I Know Thyself. Jesus knew He was in complete control. Jesus knew He had all authority; yet, we find Him here washing His disciples’ feet. Knowledge and confidence causes us to take unconventional paths or actions. Jesus did not exercise harsh authority or control over the ones He knew would betray and deny Him. He served them. WOW!!! How many of us would respond in such a manner. This passage reveals that knowing thyself is not the key but knowing who you are in light of who God says you are is the key to life.
How does one know who he is in light of who God says? 1 Corinthians 2 says,
“as it is written:
“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
the things God has prepared for those who love him—
10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughtsexcept their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”
We can know what God says by knowing God who gives us His Spirit to reveal the things of God to us. We have to surrender our will to Christ in order to have the Spirit of Christ leading us. Otherwise, we will consider the things of God foolish. If you ever wondered why the things in the bible seemed foolish or crazy to you, it may be that you have not surrendered your life to Christ. As a consequence, you don’t know the mind of God because you don’t have the Spirit of God. That is the only true way to Know Thyself.
I am asking you to Know Thyself not to gain some mystical insight or power, not to develop your self-esteem or even as Socrates thought – to find peace and happiness. True peace is only found in Christ as He is our peace Ephesians 2:14. God is not concerned with happiness as much as He wants us to experience joy which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. I am asking you to know yourself because it requires you to know God. To reiterate, “What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us… for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” For those of us who know God through Christ Jesus, we can truly Know Thyself because we know God who reveals God to us.
By knowing God, you Know Thyself.