“Our wisdom in so far as it ought to be deemed true and holy wisdom consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.” John Calvin
This is an extremely applicable quote. It is typically taught to have a high view of self, to have a good “self-esteem.” Yet this idea of self-esteem would run contrary to the biblical idea of being known or knowing yourself.
For self-esteem is, in a sense the idolatry of self. By definition it means: “confidence in ones own worth or abilities.” But biblically speaking we, you and I, are not worthy. So to see a worth that is not there is to make something it is not, namely to place self on the pedestal of supremacy.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying go around being a Debby-Downer nor am I implying your need to have no confidence. Confidence is extremely important, but not confidence in whom we are, will be, or have been, but rather confidence in the person and work of Jesus.
This wisdom we are given of God, this Bible we have to read doesn’t only teach us about God, it teaches us about ourselves. It is an infallible inerrable living document (and by living I do not mean changing) and is continuously showing us ourselves as in comparison to God.
Therefore it is crucial to know who God is to better understand yourself. I would submit that you may have a good idea of who you are outside of the knowledge of God but you will never truly know yourself unless you are pitted against your Creator. For in this God given action of knowing God there is the deep and abiding realization of your need for a Savior, the passion to be joy filled, and the hope to endure all things.
So to know oneself is to better understand God; to know God is the root of knowing oneself. Their intertwining is deep and the root of the two must eventually become one for the believer, it is, at least, the groaning we feel somewhere near our heartstrings.