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Can You Tell Me The Way?

Making a Diversion

If we recognise that our life's objective is to be with God, who is real, good and eternal, why do we then proceed to go in an entirely different direction? One reason is that we find an alternative way. We begin to experience the reality of our own existence, of our own desires and abilities. We want to choose and decide what we think is good for ourselves. The fact that we are not eternal does not bother us when we are young. Other reasons are the terrible suffering that we see all around us that leads us to question why God allows it, and criticism of the Bible as out of date and irrelevant. As we explore our own human nature, our attitudes and actions, it is important to hold fast to the Bible as a source of truth. Many Psalms are songs of praise, and reading these, such as Psalms 8, 46, 63, 84, 96 and 100, help us to know that God is the source of all that is good.

Part Two

Realisation of Self

Whether or not we are given or discover for ourselves an awareness of God, what is certain is that we become aware of ourselves. From an early age we find that we have needs, and these have got to be met. At first this happens instinctively. We learn next how to demand that these needs be met by others, and then how to meet them ourselves. As we grow and develop we discover more and more about ourselves, about what we are able to do, physically and mentally. We learn what we can get through strength or cunning. Knowledge of self then becomes more important to us than knowledge of God. As we develop in self-confidence and self-determination our dependence on God decreases, and may disappear altogether. However in new circumstances this may be reversed. We know that some of us are more interested than others in looking inwardly, in looking at ourselves, and asking questions about our own nature and motives. Many of us, at some point in our lives have asked questions like, "Who am I? What am I doing here? Where am I going? What is my purpose?" They may not be able to articulate their answers, but these become obvious in their attitudes, and in what they say and do. "I am here to enjoy myself", say some. "I want to achieve", say others. "I want to please myself", say most.

Let us take time to look at ourselves. We need to be honest, or as honest as we can. Some of us tend to look critically at ourselves, and find nothing but faults. More usually we tend to look at ourselves very sympathetically, emphasising our virtues and discounting our weaknesses. If you cannot be dispassionate and impartial, you may feel inclined to ask someone else (friend or relation) to give their assessment of you. Be careful if you do this. Your friend, although having an accurate understanding, may not present the whole truth. He or she may prefer to flatter you rather than hurt your feelings, or they may delight in listing all your faults and failings.

In fact there is someone, better than any relation or friend who can help you. Remember in part 1, it was suggested that when reading Scripture, you should seek the help of the Holy Spirit. If you do this, he gives you an understanding of the text and a revelation of its deeper meaning. As he makes the Bible real, so he makes real the nature and purpose of God. In the same way, the Holy Spirit can help you to gain a better knowledge of yourself. If you really want to know yourself, the Holy Spirit knows more about you than anyone, and he will reveal the whole truth about you.