Greek philosopher Socrates allegedly popularized and expanded upon an ancient Greek phrase, “Know Thyself.”
While it is not a common occurrence for an evangelical preacher to quote Greek philosophy, yet, scripture admonishes us to know ourselves - to examine ourselves, (1 Corinthians 11:28) Socrates was known to declare, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
King David worded it this way; “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24
What do you know about yourself? Did you know that you are made up of three parts? It’s true! You are made up of three entities — your flesh, your soul and your spirit.
Everyone is well acquainted with his or her flesh. We bath it, perfume it, groom it, feed it, and take it to the doctor when it is ailing. We have the opportunity to rest it, abuse it, flaunt it, permit it to associate with the good or let it walk aimlessly and carelessly into the company of evil. It is what we see each morning when we look in the mirror. It has red blood flowing through hundreds of miles of vessels, and nerves connecting every facet of it to a brain which dictates what the flesh will do, where it will go, what it will feel, and decisions it will make.
Everyone has a soul as well. This is the real you - the “inner man” as scripture explains. Your soul consists of three parts; the mind, will and emotions. The emotions are your feelers, your will is your chooser, and your mind is your thinker. Your soul is eternal — it will never die.
Then there is your spirit — this is that part of you which only God the Father can awaken and cause it to have an intimate relationship with Him. Until you have that intimate relationship with God through genuine faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, scripture says your spirit is dead. You are just walking about with a God-shaped vacuum inside you that can only be filled by Him. Ephesians 2:5 says “Even when we were dead in sins, (God) hath quickened us together (made us spiritually alive) with Christ. (by grace ye are saved;) ” He brings spiritual life into you when you reach out in faith to Him in confession, repentance, and child-like faith. Until that happens, you are a “dead man walking.” Jesus told the Pharisees that their outer man was whitewashed like gravestones, but inside they were just as dead spiritually as the corpse was lying beneath that gravestone. When God makes your spirit alive through a relationship with Christ, you begin to embark upon a life of unspeakable joy, and purpose.
So I pose the question to you today: are you just a fleshly body, and a lost soul, spiritually dead, walking aimlessly and meaninglessly around in this world? If so, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t have a few sensual pleasures, a few superficial laughs, or maybe even feel a type of fulfillment in your work and your relationships with friends. But one day your flesh will lie down, close its eyes, and die. Yet, your soul will live on forever - somewhere. The thief on the cross asked Christ, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Luke 23:42. The Savior looked at him and said, “... .today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” That thief’s last-minute confession of Jesus landed him a place in the Kingdom of Christ. But the thief on the opposite side of Christ was a faithless scoffer, and after his flesh died, his soul went into eternal torment, where it has been for the past 2,000 years.
So, are you just a fleshly body, with only a soul, and a dead spirit, with no agenda in mind except to fulfill the lusts of the flesh and only hope for happiness in this life? Or are you a body and a soul, with a spirit, which has been made alive in Christ, and who lives in wild anticipation of one day living in Heaven with Him, along with all who love Him?
So seek to “know thyself.” Then if you realize you only have an empty, God-shaped vacuum inside, come to Jesus. The void will be gloriously filled.
Paul Gauntt currently serves as the pastor of First Baptist Church of Palmer.