Who Are You?
It's a simple question. Answering that question, however, is anything but simple. It is easy to tell people certain facts about us—our name, our age, our school, our major, etc. But we are so much more than what these facts say about us, aren’t we? So, how would you answer the question?
And would you say whatever answer you give is really who you are? No one knows you better than yourself, of course. But just because you know yourself better than any other doesn’t mean you know yourself accurately: we all have blind spots, even in our self-knowledge. That's why we seek out mentors and coaches to expose our blind spots. Deeply immersed in ourselves, we need a more “objective” perspective about us from others!
Few things are more important than knowing ourselves accurately. Without it, we will not know what to do with our lives and resources. Think about being authentic. How can we be authentic--true to ourselves--if we don't have an accurate sense of who we are? No wonder Socrates said, “To know yourself is the beginning of wisdom”!
Who are you, then? Is it how you feel at a given moment? Feelings are so powerful, so visceral. But they are so fickle, too--they change a thousand times a day! Many say, "Follow your heart!" But we all have done that, only to regret it right away. When were we being true to ourselves--when we felt that overwhelming, irresistible urge to do something or when we were feeling terrible about it afterward?
But it's not just our feelings. How about our memory? A huge part of our self-knowledge is our memory. But how reliable is it? Can we be sure that the way we remember things is the way they actually were? We all have embellished our stories. As we tell them again and again (embellishing them more each time), our memory of what actually happened becomes fuzzier and fuzzier. Many researchers in neuroscience are discovering how our memories evolve according to what we want our past to be. We may be rewriting our own history all the time, consciously or unconsciously.
How reliable, then, is our self-knowledge, especially when it is markedly different from what other people observe about us? Certainly you are more than your name, what school you attend, how much you get paid or how you look. But who are you? Is there a core sense of who you are, which remains the same even though you are constantly changing and evolving?
If other people cannot tell us who we are and we ourselves cannot attain full, accurate self-knowledge, how can we know who we really are? The Bible's answer is clear: only God, who made us according to His purpose and design, knows who we are. And God revealed it to us in the Bible.
We tend to think of our true self only in terms of our unique features as individuals. When we do that, we lose sight of the forest for the trees. What makes us unique may only be the superficial aspects of our being--what philosophers call “accidents” (as opposed to “substance”). We cannot have accurate self-knowledge without understanding our essence first.
The Bible says that we are not an accidental byproduct of chance; we were made in the image of God. That means our essence is tied up with God--not that we are divine in essence but that we are made to be like God. To that end, God gave us the faculties needed for a personal, deeply satisfying communion with Him, through which we enjoy His goodness, truth, and beauty and in the process become more and more like Him.
Are you what you were made to be? The Bible speaks of a great tragedy—"all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). We have forsaken God’s glory and replaced it with something else--thus that gnawing sense of void we feel despite all our accomplishments and possessions, not to mention all the frustrations we suffer by violating His design for our life.
The good news is that God provided an amazing redemption for us in His Son, Jesus Christ! He came into this world as a God-man to show us what we are supposed to be as God’s image-bearers. Not only that, but He also willingly went to the cross and laid down His life to pay the penalty of our sins. And He rose again from the dead, having conquered death itself. As the resurrected Savior, He is able to impart a new life to those who put their trust in what He has done for them. And by this trust, we are bound to Him forever! And this union with the Son of God will restore and perfect God’s image in us, full of goodness, truth, and beauty! Put your trust in Jesus!