Psalm 139 is by far one of my favourite Psalms which never ceases to speak to me, whatever situation I am going through and it proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that God knows us so thoroughly well, inside and out, even more than we know ourselves. Let us take some time and pray this Psalm together whilst seeing the beauty and immense love of our God.
‘O Lord you have searched me and you know me,
You know when I sit and when I rise,
You perceive my thoughts from afar,
You discern my going ou and my lying down.
You are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
You know it completely Lord.’
So many of us struggle with the need to feel accepted and loved - such a basic human need, fundamental to our existence as human beings. Very often, thoughts rush through our minds: have I said the right thing? Was that reaction a bit too much? Have I lived up to their expectations and standards? and we naturally contort ourselves, we twist and turn and bend ourselves double to please and to be accepted. As a cover, therefore, to who we really are, we build up another self – not the real one, but a different self to suit different situations and needs and the real ME remains hidden underneath…..
Very often, this constant need to hide ourselves behind a front cover stems from the fact that we are not fully at peace with ourselves. We lose the ability to appreciate and enjoy being ourselves and we try to fill ourselves with all sorts of things to numb the truth – that we cannot openly and honestly face ourselves and face others. The need of being ‘at home’ with oneself plays a very important part. Dr. Robert H. Felix describes a healthy love and acceptance of oneself as a ‘feeling of dignity, of belonging, a feeling of worthiness, a feeling of adequacy. We must learn to regard ourselves with understanding. I must learn to enjoy being myself. I would not want to be anyone else. I would want to be only myself.’
God, because of His love for us, gives us this opportunity of being able to shed our skin and let our real self emerge. With God as a daily part of our lives, things really begin to happen. We start to reflect God’s love inside us and this slowly brings about a deeper change.
Through coming into contact with Jesus and having a personal relationship with Him, we start to realize that there is no more space for falsities and untruths – everything comes to the surface and that is when we start to realize the importance of shedding our false skin and letting Him bring out the real person which had been hiding inside. It is vital to realize that it is only through God’s strength which He gives to us, whenever we ask with sincerity and honesty, that we can overcome these challenges.
I can do anything through Him who gives me strength’ Phs 4: 13
We cannot change ourselves without God’s intervention – because He intervenes not with force but with pure and genuine love, something which is so very hard to find nowadays. And it is only His love that moves us to want to bring about that change. This is because by interacting with Jesus we find He accepts us as we are – He takes us at face-value!! No matter what we’ve done, and how we’ve done it, no matter how incompetent we feel, how unsatisfied with ourselves, how often we muck up - God loves us still! More than that, He likes us as we’ve heard so many times and He longs to bring us out of our darkness and into His light so that there, we can see clearly. This is not only liberating us and giving us freedom but also allowing us to live at peace with ourselves and others.
‘If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed’. John 8:36
‘For where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is peace’.
The knowledge of God’s love for us is the key to happiness. The Psalmist says
‘You have searched me and know me.’
And after having searched us and known us, He still chooses to die for us. This is the amazing love of our God , a love that is mind-blowing and all-encompassing.
‘You hem me in – behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.’
When reading these words, we can breathe a sigh of relief and relax because we know that despite everything, God’s protective hand never fails us. Even if we forget Him He will never forget us because His Word says in Isaiah:
‘I have carved you on the palm of my hand…even if a mother forgets her baby at her breast, I can never forget you….You are mine.’ Is 49:15
How contrary to what the world is preaching to us and to the voices which surround us and transform us into mere feelingless robots; we are judged not for who we are but for what we have - money, status, qualifications, good looks, fashion style, gadgets, eloquence and on and on and on. And we are burdened with the weight of having to reach certain standards set up for us by society even though they break us! And when we don’t manage to face up to this, we comfortably fit into our home-made mask and display an image which is anything but our own.
This game of playing behind a mask may be very convenient and successful in front of people, but there is someone who will never fall for this game – simply because it was He who created the real me, who made us as we see very clearly from verses 13 – 14:
‘For you created my innermost being. You knit me together in my mother’s womb.’
We have everything to be happy about! If we know that there is the real and true me buried somewhere inside, let us not hesitate to turn to Jesus, actually RUN to Him because in Him alone we can find our true way and the right way of slowly pulling down our masks and walls which we have built over the years. And we can trust in God’s gentleness and faithfulness which will never let us down:
‘Though the mountains may be shaken and the hills removes, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my Covenant of peace be removed.’Is 54:10.
Instead of struggling alone with ourselves to try and trudge our way through life, hoping that if we sweat it out enough, we might just about make it, let us turn ourselves to Jesus and look at Him, look to Him. Prayer is what makes the change. God is faithful – His love has no conditions attached; it’s free and never changes…..
‘Search me O God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts….lead me in the way everlasting