By Allen White
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Psalm 139:23
Everyone of us has the same limitation. We can’t look at ourselves objectively. It’s too personal. It’s too close.
Now, we can spot everyone else’s strengths and weaknesses from a mile away. This is not judging (Matthew 7:1) as much as discerning and sizing up the situation (1 Corinthians 2:15). Our role in observing others is to help and encourage them, not to sentence them to “they’ll never change.” But, when it comes to ourselves, it’s a lot harder to do.
Some of us only see bad things about ourselves. We are painfully aware of our faults or at least we continue to find ourselves in relational tension created by our faults. We can’t explain it, but we know it’s there. But, some of us don’t see anything wrong with ourselves.
Some people just think that they are cut from a different cloth. Their ego provides some sort of amnesia so they don’t even consider their effect on others. If somebody has a problem, then it’s their problem. There’s nothing wrong with Ego-man.
These are the extremes. We either make ourselves out to be bigger than we are or we see ourselves as smaller than who we are. All of us are somewhere on the spectrum. But, how do we gain insight into who we really are?
Other people can give us insight. Our spouse, our friends, our small group, they all tend to see us more objectively than we ever could see ourselves. We can gain some insights from them. When we’re down, they can lift us up. When we’re big headed, they can pop our balloon. The problem with other people is that everyone has an agenda.
Maybe “agenda” is too strong. But, everyone has a greater personal interest than their interest in us. They are more interested in themselves. “If Allen were less of a jerk, then my life would be better.” “If my spouse was saved and went to church, my marriage would be better.” While we should have a concern about our spouse’s eternal destiny and even this writer’s ability to annoy, why is that a concern to us? Do we truly want what’s best for them or what’s best for us? The perspective of others is helpful, but it’s not unbiased. There is only one source of unbiased opinion: God Himself.
In this verse, the Psalmist invites God to explore him inside and out. God understands things about us that we don’t understand about ourselves. When we feel that no human being on the planet understands us, God understands us. And, He loves us no matter what.
God knows our anxious thoughts. He knows why we’re anxious. It’s usually because we are projecting beyond what we can control. God knows everything (Job 37:16; 1 John 3:20). He knows the resolution of everything situation that we face. God is certain of what no one else can forecast or predict.
God knows how each of us is wired. Not only does He know what we worry about, He also knows why we are worried. God even knows that often our worry will drive us to Him, so He gives us something to worry about just so He can hang out with us. (There is an easier way.)
Are you ready for God’s examination? It’s not a test that you will fail. If you have trusted Christ for your salvation, then you have immunity from elimination. God’s exam is like the doctor’s office. That thing that’s eating at you – He understands. That relationship that is rocky – He knows why. That cycle that finds you excluded – He can help.
Pray this verse with me today, then listen for the answer.
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