Recently, I was privileged to attend a panel discussion at the local high school addressing teenage drug and alcohol abuse. The panel consisted of former students, parents, a police detective and a teen psychologist.
One insightful statement was made by a 19 year old panelist, a recovering alcoholic. “Parents, you have to keep talking to us. I know it’s hard. You are trying to help us understand ourselves. But I don’t even understand myself!”
It was an honest and insightful moment. How does one understand oneself? Sadly for many of us, regardless of our age, the answer is still elusive. We may read self-help books, attend seminars, even seek wise counsel from mentors, teachers or trusted family members. All of these are important first steps, but the first step to understanding oneself is answered by God.
My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
Ecclesiastes 12:12-13 (ESV)
The author of Ecclesiastes was most likely Solomon. He may have been the wisest man who ever lived and at the end of his life, Solomon reflected upon his own life and the world in which he lived. Not surprisingly, the same questions that were asked thousands of years ago are still asked today. But can it be as simple as this? Is it simply fearing God and keeping His commandments?
Yes, it is that simple. But it is impossible, if we rely upon our own efforts. God gave us His laws and commandments to show us how far removed we are from living a life that is obedient and faithful to God. The commandments are our tutor to bring us to Jesus Christ and the Cross. It is only by acknowledging that we are utterly helpless by our own efforts, confessing our sins, repenting, and turning to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, can we begin to live the life that God created us to live.
The former students who were recovering alcoholics were beginning to understand themselves. But the full realization only comes at the Cross. We only truly understand ourselves when we understand how God sees us.
Love and trust the Lord, seek His will in your life.