To know God is to know yourself.
When I went of to college, I entered a whole new realm. It would be the first time I'd been away from home for more than a couple of months. It would be the first time I really had to take care of myself. No parents. No camp counselors. No one. In fact, I soon realized that I was all alone. I knew two of the 12,000 people at school and they were busy making friends of their own. I had two roommates, one moved out after a couple months, and the other spent most of his time working or studying. So, in the fall of 1996 and the spring of 1997 I spent a considerable amount of time alone.
If you asked me then, I probably would have told you that I was lonely and depressed. But, looking back, it was a pivotal time in my life. In those hours, days, and weeks alone I figured out a lot about who I was. I stopped being my parent's son, and became myself. I got organized. I wrote. I thought. I listened to a lot of music. I read every text book of every class I took that year, and every novel too. I even taught myself nunchucks.
That time was not a time of loneliness and depression, it was a time of self-discovery and the foundation for the adult I was trying to become.
But there was something missing.
I discovered a piece of myself that year, but it would be another 5 years before I discovered who I was, and it has been an ongoing process ever since.
1 Peter 1:18-19
For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.
On a Sunday in early 2003, I accepted the free gift God offers everyone through the blood of Christ. I had no idea of where that decision would lead my life and the adventure I was about to begin. Since that day, I have learned more about myself than solitary time in a dorm room could ever teach. I've learned my strengths, and my weaknesses. I've learned the ways in which I love others, and the ways that I hurt them. I've learned that my victories and my failures do not define me, but only mark events in my life.
I've learned that most people stop reading blog posts that are too long so I am going to stop listing off things I have learned.
What's important is that in the process of seeking to know God, we ultimately learn more about ourselves. In learning more about how much he loves us, and the sacrifice he made for us, we learn about how we love others and how we should treat our neighbors.
I often say that I wish there was some magic in making the decision to let God into your life through a relationship with Jesus. I wish everything bad in our lives would disappear when we accepted that gift. But that's not the case. We still live in a broken world and still have free will, which means we can, and will turn away from God at times. But even in turning away from him, we learn about ourselves. Ultimately, in those dark days when we have separated ourselves from him, we can discover his power, his mercy, and his amazing grace.
No matter what happens in our lives, we still belong to the God that created the universe. No person, and no event can take that away from us.
If you're in a dark place, turn back toward God. Call on him. Seek to know him more. Seek to learn about the promises he has made to you. If you are lost and searching, he is there. If you are seeking, you will find him. It could be through prayer, another person, or through your church that you reconnect with God, and build your relationship with Jesus.
Join us this Sunday, and continue the adventure of knowing God and knowing yourself. It's a scary fun fantastic ride. In the meantime, check out Blake's message from this past Sunday here.