Morning: Matt. 21:33-22:14; Noon: 1 Sam. 5-12; Evening: Psa. 62
A “conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires,” is how the Oxford dictionary defines self-awareness. Are you self-aware to the way you feel, the motivations that drive you, the character that defines you as you walk day by day in a world that is constantly judging the fruit of your works, your words and your deeds, and making their own judgments about who you are and the character you possess? I heard something kind of funny a while back. Someone said, “When you’re twenty years old you care about what everyone thinks. When you’re forty years old you don’t care what about what anyone thinks. When you’re sixty years old you realize no one was thinking about you anyway!” Ha! There is a bit of truth in all that, but despite how much or how little others may judge us and how much or how little we may really be concerned about it, there is still One that matters very much in terms of how He judges us, and whose judgments we should be very concerned about, Jesus.
Twice the Pharisees, a religiously zealous and for the most part a very hypocritical sect of Judaism, heard Jesus speak His parables according to Matthew 21:33-22:14. Twice they were able to perceive and understand that the things said were casting a perfectly molded image of their own character and motivations (21:45, 22:15). And twice they obviously did not like the mold into which they fit. Instead of reflecting then upon their condition, seeking to change and improve their person, they took their frustrations out upon Jesus and sought to destroy His livelihood. Clearly they were self-aware, but refused to become self-attentive you might say, fixing, repairing, and rewiring the unpleasant character that had come to define them. One might even argue that perhaps they had become self-denial. They had no interest in their own needs. They denied the need for self-change or wrongness.
As I think about these things, it would seem clear to me that self-awareness is not something typically lacking. Some indeed may have greater and others lesser, but all of us with capable and healthy minds, whether our lives be in good or bad standing with God, can self-examine and compare ourselves to the word of God spoken. Even the Pharisees could understand the things Jesus spoke in parables, and realize which role they fit into the story. The struggle is not so much self-awareness, it is self-acceptance. Can I accept the condition in which God’s word speaks about me? Can I listen to the blessings of God’s word, while I also listen to the curses that may or may not categorize me? Can I listen to the word commend me even while it correct me? Will I let my pride and emotions get the best of me, or will I react humbly and cautiously so that I may find improvement dramatically? Self-awareness is a gift to us from God, but what we do with that gift afterwards will either be a curse or a blessing to us. Let it be a blessing.
“For the word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and of marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” ~ [Hebrews 4:12]