The call to more courageous self-awareness

By Dave Henning / December 9, 2017

“No one has ever called people to more courageous self-awareness than Jesus did.  The foundation of his call was grace.”- John Ortberg

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.”- James 1:22-24

John Ortberg concludes Chapter 5 of I’d Like You More . . . as he notes that self-awareness includes (a) recognizing our strengths and values, but also (b) seeing our weaknesses and sins.  However, John cautions, sometimes faith actually causes us to be more self-deceived that more self-aware.  Thus, Pastor Ortberg quotes writer Richard Rohr (Breathing Under Water – 2011):

“Christians are usually sincere and well-intentioned people, until you get to any issues of ego, control, power, money, pleasure, and security.  Then they tend to be pretty much like everyone else.”

Therefore, author Brene Brown advises us to engage in wholehearted living, which involves:

  • coming out of hiding
  • letting go of perfectionism and shame
  • enough vulnerability to live in the reality of the truth about ourselves
  • sharing one belief – that we’re worthy of love and belonging

We access evidence of worth and belonging through Jesus’ great love for us.  Furthermore, Jesus’ love gives us courage to face the truth about ourselves.  That, in turn, makes intimacy possible.

Yet, self-awareness contains a paradox.  Pastor Ortberg explains that it’s a necessary bridge as well as a great obstacle to intimacy.  For intimacy turns to fear when we’re even partially aware of our brokenness or ugliness.  Hence, John states, “intimacy requires a gift of acceptance that self-awareness cannot provide.”

In conclusion, John encourages:

“It is one thing for us to be aware of ourselves.  It’s another to know that God — the holy Creator of the universe — is fully aware of us, and yet still loves us wholly, without reservation, and without end.”

Today’s question: What Bible verses help you heed Jesus’ call to more courageous self-awareness?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “The golden rule of intimacy”

About the author

Dave Henning

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