Self-knowledge and Knowing God

As I see it, we shall never succeed in knowing ourselves unless we seek to know God: let us think of His greatness and then come back to our own baseness; by looking at His purity we shall see our foulness; by meditating upon His humility, we shall see how far we are from being humble. (Teresa of Avila: First Mansions, Book Two)

Teresa says, “we shall never succeed in knowing ourselves unless we seek to know God”. Our spiritual journey thrives in self-knowledge but is distorted by self-preoccupation. The goal is to be a student of self and know God. The better we know God, the better we know our self.

Four ways to know God better:

Study the life of Jesus: Jesus is the full revelation of God. Jesus is also the full revelation of what it means to be human.

Read Scripture as Revelation: How you read the Bible matters. “The Bible cannot be read unbiblically”. (Karl Barth)

Personal Revelation: God reveals himself to us through mystical prayer.

Other People: God created humankind “in the image of God”. If we want to know God better, get to know our family, friends, and co-workers better.

Teresa says, “if we turn from self toward God, our understanding and our will become nobler and readier to embrace all that is good: if we never rise above the slough of our own miseries we do ourselves a great disservice.”
*Additional Note
The “image of God” is particularly noticeable when punctuated by love: “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.” John 4.12. Observe the progression in scripture:
  • Exodus 33: “No one shall see me and live.”
  • John 1: “No one has ever seen God.” Jesus “has made him known.”
  • I John 4: “No one has ever seen God . . . God lives in us”. (We make him known.)
Self-knowledge – Part I (click here)
Self-knowledge – Part II (click here)
Self-knowledge – Part IV (click here)
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Jesus Follower, Blogger, Public Speaker. Teresaofavilaturns500.wordpress.com

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Posted in 1st Mansions - Chapter 2
2 comments on “Self-knowledge and Knowing God
  1. smalin920 says:

    I love this: If we want to know God better, get to know our family, friends, and co-workers better.

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