The way in which we interpret significant events in our lives has everything to do with how we view our world, view God and view ourselves. Do you agree with that assertion?
I’ll show you what I mean. Let’s look at Matthew 16:13-17. 13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” (ESV)
The disciples of Christ were asked to drop everything and follow Him. That’s a monumental “ask”, is it not? Leave all that you know to be true of your world, your family, and your life and follow this stranger. He seems like a nice enough guy – they may have thought. But leave it all behind? That’s another thing. Many of the disciples were likely just teenagers. (Here’s a good reference – https://www.gotquestions.org/how-old-were-Jesus-disciples.html.) Being so young, it would be terrifying letting go of a career trajectory, a secret desire for success in the world they lived in, and even leaving behind the stuff they had accumulated. After all, people are people. Do you think they cared any less than we do about the things of this world? Incredible still, there must have been an irresistible draw to this Nazarene.
Think about what it must have been like to follow Jesus – being taught astonishing truths and watching countless miracles before your very eyes. Yet they doubted Him and even argued among themselves as to which of them was the greatest. Just like us, weren’t they? But the coolest thing to see was – after all their experiences and re-shaping their world view, view of God and view of themselves – they finally got it. Their interpretation of all they had gone through with Jesus changed their view; of everything. How easy would it have been to continue an adventure in missing the point? Jesus affirmed Peter’s answer when asked “Who do you say that I am?” but notice where Peter’s answer came from. Not revealed by flesh and blood, but His Father in heaven. I absolutely love that. Even if we miss the point, the Holy Spirit can and will direct us to absolute truth. That is if we’re paying attention.
If we focus on the events of our lives and the “beating” we’ve taken from others, and from of our own distorted choices, we too will miss the point. And how many of us go through life missing the point? I would venture a guess, now that I’ve been on this earth for more than 6 decades, all of us miss the point at some time or another. Heck, for me I didn’t really take hold of the true meaning of my life, and the freedom that comes through healing in Christ, until 5 or 6 years ago. Much later than the decision to accept Him as Savior some 50 years ago. But it took a crisis to wake me to what really matters.
As my story of healing is evolving I’m learning even more about who God is to me and who I am to Him. It’s reshaping my worldview and hence my behaviors – demonstrating more and more what others-centered love looks like. Much in the way the disciples of Christ needed a 3-year apprenticeship with the most loving person to ever have walked the planet, I too need the guidance and love of Abba Father in my everyday walk. How about you?
Over the centuries many well respected Christian leaders have been adamant about the fact that to know God we must have a deeper knowledge of ourselves. And to know ourselves we must know God. Thomas Aquinas and Thomas à Kempis said it. Thomas Merton did as well. Evagrius (Google him) said to know God you must know yourself and to know yourself you must know God. These are men of deep faith who devoted much of their life to Him, learning as they progressed. It’s extremely important that we know our tendencies and how we respond to this world. How we’re wired to take on this Christian life in a “fallen” state.
Press in, pay attention to and go deeper in every moment of life to discover who you are in Christ. Your true self. Not the one the world wants you to be. Not the one that believes the lies and distortions of an enemy that prowls around like a lion looking for someone to prey upon. And not the one that is floundering around through an adventure in missing the point. But the one, who like Peter – gets it, secure in his identity as Child of God. Recognizing Jesus as the Christ (The Messiah) the Son of the Living God.
Take some time alone – just you and God. Ask Him what He thinks of you. To show you a picture of His love for you. It’ll change everything.