The ancient Chinese General Sun Tzu once said, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not your enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” These are wise words that every warrior should heed.
We must know our enemy, but it is just as important that we know ourselves. We must discover and come to grips with who we truly are—that is, the real me. Most of us fall into one extreme or the other—we see ourselves as abject failures who can’t do anything right, or as overwhelming successes who can’t do anything wrong. Neither extreme is true. What each of us need is a realistic, credible assessment of our own strengths, limitations, and weaknesses, as well as a biblical understanding of who God says we are. All these components reveal the real you and the real me.
The ability to stand firm on a consistent basis demands that I know who I really am. You can bet your enemy knows. He has studied you. He has the latest intelligence on who you are and what you will do in any given situation rather than the inflated assessment of who you wished you were or what you hope you will do. He is betting on your natural tendencies, your engrained belief system, your learned habits, those hidden spiritual strongholds, and those unhealed wounds from your past—as well as your physical and emotional limitations.
Each of us must take a long hard look at who we are. This is not a condemning look, but rather a realistic look. If each of us understands our strengths, limitations, and weaknesses, that information will make us better warriors because it will drive us to the feet of Jesus. It will (or should) convince us of our utter dependence on him. Otherwise, we are deceived by who we think we are. The apostle Paul put it this way, “For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he is nothing” (Galatians 6:3). And—deception is one of the enemy’s most valuable weapons.
Therefore, the next few blogs will be a tool to help us evaluate ourselves, not some other brother or sister. That responsibility rests with them and the Lord!