Know Thyself, Know Thy Limits
“Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, ‘Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.’” (Matthew 8:10, NASB)
Many have entreated mankind to “Know Thyself.” These words are quoted from the ancients: Chilon, Thales, Juvenal, Socrates, Plato and more recently Hobbes, Pope, Linnaeus, Franklin, Emerson, Coleridge and others. Many of these men would point to human capability as the goal of knowledge; Jesus would disagree. Knowing thyself is not completely sufficient.
The ultimate value in knowing yourself lies in knowing your limits. In response to your own limitations you can turn to Christ, the all-sufficient Lord who is able to meet those needs. Matthew chapter eight tells the story of a Roman centurion who believed that Jesus could heal his servant with only a word. The centurion was a powerful man and yet Jesus said he had the greatest faith: greater than any in Israel! Can you imagine how that must have sounded? A gentile, a Roman official, the enemy of the Jews and an unbeliever and he had the greatest faith? How could it be?
He believed. The centurion knew his power as well as his limitations and trusted in the Most High for sustenance and healing. He was a powerful Roman coming to beg at the feet of the Jewish carpenter. It came at the cost of his dignity but the reward of great faith.
Know thyself? It’s still great advice. But know thyself so thoroughly that the walls of your humanity loom tall before you and your faith causes you to fall at the feet of Jesus.
You are mighty: high and lifted up. I honour Your name and adore You as the sovereign LORD. Thank You for designing me in Your image. I recognize my failure to be holy like You. My shortcomings are all too clear. I kneel at Your feet and ask You to do for me today what I cannot do for myself. Heal me. By your Spirit, create in me a pure heart O God. Restore me. Make me more like You.
In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Question: In what ways do your own limitations draw you closer to God?