Thursday, September 12, 2013

A look inward should only last as long as it takes to make us look upward

Be sure of this, when God tells us to look in, He really wants us to look up. When God commands us to look at ourselves, He desires that we see our need of Him.

In his work "Pensées", Blaise Pascal said, "Let man now know his value. Let him love himself, for there is in him a nature capable of good; but let him not for this reason love the vileness which is in him. Let him despise himself, for this capacity is barren; but let him not therefore despise this natural capacity. Let him hate himself, let him love himself; he has within him the capacity of knowing the truth and of being happy, but he possesses no truth, either constant or satisfactory." From the Oracle at Delphi, Socrates heard "Know thyself" and determined, according to Plato's conversation, in Socrates' work, "Phaedrus", that he could not be curious about anything outside himself until he knew himself. So, Pascal says love yourself and he says to hate yourself; Socrates, via the Oracle at Delphi, says to know yourself. What does God say?

He says, "Examine yourself." (2 Corinthians 13:5) He says, "Consecrate yourselves." (Leviticus 20:7)

We spend much too much time hating ourselves, and much too much time loving ourselves and probably much too much time trying to know ourselves. That's an inward focus. The Scripture does say we should "examine ourselves" but that examination is to determine whether we are in the faith, and not just in the historical sense, but are we walking in the faith in the moment. The Scripture tells us to "consecrate ourselves," or "separate ourselves" if you prefer, meaning, do not practice or be defined by worldly ideologies or false religion.

Pascal: Love yourself. Hate yourself.
Oracle at Delphi: Know yourself.
God: Examine yourself. Separate yourself.

"Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!" (Lamentations 3:40, ESV)

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