Remember who you are becoming

Published 9:32 pm Friday, March 30, 2012

By Chris Surber

My 4-year-old son Ephram has a knack for highlighting obvious but profound truths to me. While I was driving him to preschool recently, he looked up from a deeply silent contemplation and in the most serious voice said, “Dad, don’t forget today that you are a pastor.” I laughed casually and promised him that I wouldn’t forget.

While I am uncertain of the origin of my son’s admonition to his father to stay true to himself, I am certain that there is no more important or more elusive knowledge than self-knowledge.

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The American author, poet and abolitionist of the 19th century, Henry David Thoreau, said it this way: “It is as hard to see one’s self as to look backwards without turning around.”

Self-knowledge is what compels us to change course when we are wrong. Self-knowledge is what compels us to continue our path when we are right.

Last week Domenick Epps offered an insightful column titled “Time to get back to true black culture.” I appreciated his honesty and lack of concern for the popularity of his message. In fact, I’d like to apply the heart of his message even more broadly and more personally at the same time.

It’s time for each of us, regardless of race, to “get back to true culture of self.”

None of us will ever be able to embody the highest principles of any culture until we have the courage to look honestly at ourselves. That’s hard to do, but the truth is that nothing is going to change until I change. In fact, that is a central theme to the New Testament and the entire Christian message.

The world is broken because I am broken. The world is in need of transformation, and when I bring my brokenness to the God, who endured suffering and brokenness and shame at the Cross, He receives me.

He resurrects my dead spirit. He begins a process of showing me who I actually am and how desperately I need to be transformed. Then He transforms me one day at a time. One prayer of honest repentance at a time, one act of honest compassion at a time, He reveals His glory to me. He restores my worth.

In this land a legacy has been passed down to us of the beauty of a deeply Christian heritage. We also have inherited the brokenness of an imperfect past.

The questions for each of us are simple: Will I remember who I am? And will I live up to the highest ideals of who I can be?

Self-examination isn’t easy, but no matter what we find there, we are loved by a God who receives us just as we are and makes us whom He desires us to become. Jesus says, “All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” (John 6:37 NIV)