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Knowing God, knowing oneself

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16.11

Exams over, students up and down the land are waiting for results. For most of us, the aim of education is to obtain the qualifications we need to proceed to the careers and jobs to which we aspire. That's the way our system works and it sounds reasonable. Yet this approach to learning conceals within it some hidden dangers, namely professionalism, arrogance and depersonalisation - all expressions of pride.

A little knowledge is dangerous because he can dupe us (and others!) into thinking we are experts. So imagine what mastering a subject does to a person. Those who begin their studies as sons and daughters, friends and neighbours, often emerge with handles to their name - Doctor, Captain, Reverend, &c - and are forever after appreciated according to what they do rather than who they are.

Before God, we are nothing - and everything. We do not deserve God's attention let alone his favour. Yet God loves us as much as to offer us his life. These are mysteries that can transform us and restore a healthy sense of identity and a respect for others, cutting through the outward appearance and revealing the heart. It is where knowledge gives way to wisdom: relating to God reveals who we truly are.



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