An Unexamined Life
Socrates is known for saying, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” Life becomes a precious when we take into account all that encompasses it. Seeing the beauty of the landscape that surrounds us. The joy of a personal relationship to be had between people. But even an examined life that fails to acknowledge God is meaningless.
Without a relationship with God, all other things remain unknown. There is no understanding of creation. There is no understanding of others. And there is no understanding of self without first knowing God. It is knowing God that adds value to life. It is with this understanding that J.I. Packer writes, “Knowing God is the highest point of existence bringing full joy and contentment.” In fact, Scripture teaches us that knowledge and wisdom go hand in hand with knowing God.
An Unexamined Knowledge
The author of Proverbs reminds us: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). Fearing the Lord indicates a great reverence for who He is, something that does not happen apart from knowing and trusting Him. Thus to know anything is to know God.
When we develop a relationship with God we begin to know and understand the world (and the people) around us. It is only with this knowledge that a Christian perspective develops. Temptations begin to make sense. Trials are viewed differently (James 1:4-12). Time is committed differently (Ephesians 5:16). Fears dissipate while contentment increases (Philippians 4:11; 2 Timothy 1:7)
Therefore, life has no meaning if it is not lived with a knowledge of God (not merely a knowledge of God).
An Unexamined God
Perhaps the title of this section seems strange, but it reveals a concern that must be avoided. If we are to fully participate and enjoy life, we must examine it. To examine it, we must examine God. There is much with God that we will not fully comprehend, but what is important is that we know Him as He has revealed Himself to be to us. This means a relationship with Him in which we experience Him as we examine Him through His Word.
I would suggest that the more we know of God through relationship, the more we begin to know ourselves. Why is this important? Because it leads to humility. We see ourselves in the light of who God is and recognize just how unfit we are to be a child of God. “The more conscious of our own inferiority to someone the more we feel our part is to attend to the person” (J.I. Packer). We are compelled to service to both men and God because of who we are in God. This makes life worth living . . . knowing who we are because we know God.