“True Self”

In this video by Emergent Church personality Rob Bell, he talks about knowing who we really are. The video concludes with a slide at the end which is not readable through YouTube, so I’ve added it below. Watch the video and read the slide.



What does Rob mean by really knowing “our true selves”? How will knowing our true selves help us to live the life God wants for us? What exactly is this life that God wants for us?

While these are great discussion questions for the church youth group, I can’t help but wonder what Rob’s answers would be. Afterall, the phrase “true self” doesn’t appear in the majority of translations available at the Biblegateway. (The Message is the noteworthy exception.) I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the absence of such a phrase is because the true self is not something that we know, but something that we develop.

Paul talks about an “old self” and a “new self”. The old self is the corruptible one that we come into the world with. It is the one that is contaminated by The Fall and enslaved to sin. By choosing to live by the principles of this world, we contribute to the development of the “old self”. We turn away from God and become progressively less like him in whose image we were created. The “new self” is the incorruptible one that is set free (by God)from sin.  By choosing to believe in and submit to the Authority of Jesus, we turn toward God and become progressively like him. Our “true self” is directly dependent upon our relationship to Jesus, our as Paul puts it, whether or not we are “in Christ”.

So, knowing our true old self may actually propel us toward God through Christ. Or, perhaps knowing our true new self may encourage us to continue moving toward God in Christ. Is this what Rob is getting at?


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