Do You Know Me?
First day jitters come upon me each time I begin a new study group. While meeting people who have the same interests as I do is exciting, breaking the ice in a new group is uncomfortable.
Now it’s my turn.
The facilitator turns to me. She asks me to tell the group about myself. Everyone’s eyes are on me. I begin to think of what to say but have no words.
The truth is I really don’t know much about myself. And With all eyes on me, I am not able to think clearly. I further ponder the question. I think that I know what I like to eat- sometimes. I know what I want to wear in the morning until I change my outfit two or three times. And when I think I’ve made a good decision, I change my mind. I could say that I am loving, patient and kind, but these attributes do not scream from of me.
What I really want to tell my group is, I need to ask the all-knowing One, because true knowledge of who I am is based on my relationship with Him.
My Personal Profile
In John chapter one, Jesus chooses his disciples. One of His disciples, Philip, tells Nathanael he has found Jesus of Nazareth. Nathanael responds, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
The city of Nazareth, which is under strict control by Jerusalem’s religious leaders, rejects Jesus. Jesus understands Nathanael’s harsh tone concerning His hometown, yet He sees beyond Nathanael’s remark. Don’t you love when Jesus sees beyond our remarks? Jesus then responds, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” (John 1:47)
I love how Jesus sees past Nathanael’s statement and looks into his heart.
He recognizes Nathanael as a man who speaks honestly and openly. Although Nathanael comes from a Jewish religious-ruled town, he still seeks to know the truth about the Messiah.
Nathanael’s question to Jesus’ evaluation of him is “How do you know me?”
Jesus answers, “Before Philip called you when you were under the fig tree, I saw you” (John 1:48).
Nathanael is obviously concerned about Jesus’ ability to know his thoughts, his motives, and the personality of his heart. Only Jesus could see what Nathanael was doing under the fig tree. And only Jesus could see in advance the fruit of his life as a disciple.
Jesus sees what Nathanael would become by calling him into a relationship with him.
The Lord’s calling of Nathanael begins the process of a relationship. It is an interchangeable one. As Jesus calls Nathanael, Nathanael begins to intimately know Jesus.
In my relationship with the Lord, I ask the same questions as Nathanael. Some questions are Lord, how do you perceive my ways? Are my motives pure? How do you see me as your follower? How do you know me? These questions lead me deeper into the person of Jesus Christ. And as He consistently answers my questions through scripture and in prayer, He continually places His image into my personal profile.
Becoming Like Him
Jesus always prompts me to go deeper in Him to know Him more. By knowing Him more, I become aware of who I am.
I see myself in his light. His likeness is formed in me through personal experiences with Him. He desires a relationship with me because He recognizes me as worthy of intimacy and worthy of His love. Because all knowledge of the One who loves me is obtained by proximity, I can draw near to Him, and He will draw near to me.
Nathanael didn’t know his calling, while under the fig tree, was the beginning of being made into the image of the Messiah. He didn’t know that by following Jesus, he would learn much more about himself-the good and the bad. Yet, as he began in a relationship with the Lord, he began to know more about Jesus and about himself.
I also desire to know more and more about Jesus. Because I am made in the image of God, my worth is based on who I am as a follower of Christ.
The way to know myself is to know Jesus. His image is being formed in me. His representation shows up in me.
Jesus gives Nathanael insight into His heart. Nathanael’s assessment of himself is based on what Jesus says about him. “An Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” (John 1:47)
His Answers Are My Answers
When I am in a group setting and asked to describe myself, I would do well to remember that Jesus knows me better than I do. He tells me about myself daily through His word and in prayer.
I can be honest because I have sought the Lord, but more importantly, the Lord seeks my heart. I may even muster the strength to tell the group about my shortcomings and failures.
Even as Nathanael asks Jesus, follows Jesus, and knows more about himself by walking with Jesus, I can also ask Jesus “How do you know me?” After all, the One who sees and knows me from afar surely has the answers I need.