Know Yourself That You May Know God
THE MAIN POINT
Self-awareness is intricately related to our relationship with God. The vast majority of people never fully know who they are. Knowing who we are requires spending intentional time with God.
In the midst of a mini-revival in the town of Capernaum, everyone was looking for Jesus. He had been healing people of all diseases and had been driving out demons. If you lived in Capernaum, you wanted to meet Jesus, and have him do something for you. The expectations were high. The pressure was on. But Jesus reacts in a way that can be so refreshing and healing for us.
In the midst of the excitement and miracles, Jesus withdrew alone to pray. Jesus knew that he could only do what he was doing through time spent listening, talking, and receiving from God the Father. When his friends found him they wanted him to come back and keep doing what he was doing, but Jesus, being faithful to the truest version of himself, listened to God the father and moved on to a new town.
In living faithfully to his true self, he ended up disappointing a lot of people. For example:
- He disappointed his family to the point where his mother and siblings wondered if he was out of his mind (Mark 3:21).
- He disappointed the people he grew up with in Nazareth. When Jesus declared who he really was – the Messiah – they tried to push him off a cliff (Luke 4:28-29).
- He disappointed his closest friends, the twelve disciples. They projected onto Jesus the type of Messiah they expected him to be. When he failed to meet their expectations, they quit on him.
- He disappointed the crowds. They wanted an earthly Messiah. One who would feed them, fix all of their problems, overthrow the Roman oppressors, work miracles, and give inspiring sermons. They walked away from him.
- He disappointed the religious leaders. They did not appreciate the disruption his presence brought to their day-to-day lives or their theology. They finally attributed his power to demons and had him crucified.
As you prepare the core of the message using personal story and questions keep in mind these points:
- Jesus does not seem to allow the opinions of others to impact his emotional and spiritual health. This is largely to do with solitude.
- Jesus choose solitude as a regular practice where he spent intentional time in God’s presence. Time spent in solitude with God is not time spent alone.
- Jesus spent time in solitude to:
- Prepare for a major task (Luke 4:1-2, 14-15)
- Recharge after hard work (Mark 6:30-32)
- To work through grief (Matthew 14:1-13)
- Before making an important decision (Luke 6:12-13)
- In a time of distress (Luke 22:39-44)
- To focus on prayer (Luke 5:6)
How many of your students are going through similar life decisions and moments like Jesus?
Think practically as to how they can practice solitude and prayer.
As you prepare the application, challenge and/or encouragement, keep in mind these points:
- Students can struggle with loneliness. We are not encouraging people to be lonely but to have a healthy community and a healthy time in God’s presence.
- Jesus is not only our Messiah but our example of how to live. He seemed to walk freely and lightly. This was largely to do with him knowing himself and knowing God. He didn’t allow others to dictate who he was but allowed God the father to tell him who he is. Whom are your listeners allowing to dictate to them who they are?
- When we choose to listen to God and live our true selves as children of God, this will disappoint others. How does this impact you?