I heard this term for the first time when James Houston, from Regent College referred to its important for the spiritual journey. He said it has been lost to the Western church, but has always been an important ingredent in understanding spiritual growth. What double knowledge implies is that a knowledge of God and a knowledge of ourselves are intimately linked together in the life of faithfulness to God. John Calvin, for example, wrote, “Our wisdom, is so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and the knowledge of ourselves….The knowledge of God and the knowledge of ourselves are bound together by a mutual tie.” Paul told young Timothy, “pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching.” (I Tim 4:16).
For the first 2o years of my spiritual journey, I never heard of this truth. I had been taught that any awareness and paying attention to heart or soul, was dangerous introspection, which would lead me into the murky waters of emotions, desires and longings. I should stay in my head, learning, absorbing and reflecting on God’s objective truth, found in Scripture. This would point me to Jesus. I should leave it at that. The problem was that I know there deep emotions and desires that would bubble to the surface that I could not control. It took me a couple of years before I was willing to begin the inner journey.
I can not impress on the men who read this blog the importance of the inner journey, in which we gain knowledge of ourselves, that is, the good, the bad and the ugly. Most men’s material and men’s group lack the awareness of this important truth. The one exception is the local AA group. There you find honesty and humility. The men in AA are willing to go to the bottom of the pain. So men, find a brother who will be a loving mirror in your life. Let him know the secrets of your soul. Find a group of guys that are willing to go into the issues of the soul, rather then staying on the surface having safe “God talk.”
I would like to quote from David Benner who has helped me so much this area of my walk. “Christian spirituality involves a transformation of the self that occurs only when God and self are both deeply known….Though there has never been any serious theological quarrel with this ancient Christian understanding, it has been largely forgotten by the contemporary church. We have focused on knowing God and tended to ignore knowing ourselves. The consequences have been grievous – marriages betrayed, families destroyed, ministries shipwrecked and endless numbers of people damaged.”
I have no idea who or how many men read this blog. I know I am committed to faithfully post each week. If you have read enough of my blogs, you get a sense that I am committed to the inner journey. This might be new to your understanding. You might not like the idea. You might be reluctent to take the inner journey. My challenge to you, is to be open to the journey. This is what God has called me to do. My call is the help in bringing healing the broken hearts of men. The church in its practice and teaching has given us permission to stay on the surface, while the souls of men are broken and hurting.