31 days: know thy God / know thyself

I tried the 31 days challenge last year, but I didn’t get very far. I’m going to give it another go.


Nearly all the wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.” (John Calvin, p. 35, Institutes of the Christian Religion)

In my church we talk often of indicatives versus imperatives in the Bible. I grew up hearing a lot of imperatives–what I was supposed to do–but they were separated from the indicatives–what Christ has already done. Even the 10 Commandments (imperatives) begin with a declaration of who God is and what He has done for His people (indicative). When I discovered this concept, it became like a game for me, to find the gospel anchor in all of the passages that had been plucked from their precious context and handed to me in the form of do’s and don’ts.

I recently read a wonderful book that looked at God’s design for women. It wasn’t a how–to manual on being a wife, mother, or homemaker–it was a call to step back and see the God who designed women. This book brought healing in a way that I didn’t know I needed; it opened my eyes to the reality that as I’ve tried to understand my roles–as I’ve tried to make sense of my dreams and gifts and passions and reality–I’ve been caught up in the imperatives and lost sight of the indicatives. I’ve been on a search to figure out who I am as a woman, but I have forgotten that the starting point of my identity is God Himself.

“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36)

I also stumbled across Hannah Anderson the other day and loved how she defined the problem as a lack of understanding of the doctrine of imago dei:

The doctrine of imago Dei teaches that every human being, every man and woman, every boy and, yes, every girl is made in God’s image, destined to reflect His character and to represent Him on this earth. Our core identity comes from God’s identity. Pay attention: imago Dei is not simply a starting point for other doctrines, nor is it simply a means of ascribing equal worth to men and women (although it does). No, imago Dei is the most basic paradigm for how we understand our existence.

It is a truth that runs through the warp and weave of the entire Scripture. It informs everything about the gospel—what we were created to be, what sin is, how redemption happens, and what we will one day become. It is also the basis on which Jesus Christ, the God-Man, can redeem us. Simply put, the truth of imago Dei IS creation, justification, sanctification, and glorification all in one package.

And if you mess with it, you mess with the gospel.

She goes on to say:

If we don’t get imago Dei right, if women don’t find their first identity as image bearers destined to reflect the perfect Image Bearer, we will erect false gods and create an environment of legalism. An environment devoid of the gospel. In such an environment, women will either rely on their own ability to be “good” women, or they will become discouraged and depressed when they can’t meet the standard.

So, naturally, I bought her book. And I’m digging in. And processing with you, for 31 days.

“It is God’s right to name Himself, the world and the people He has created…It is from Him–not psychology, sociology, anthropology or any other human science–that we gain a proper framework for understanding ourselves, our world, and God Himself.” (Mary Kassian, p. 242-43, The Feminist Gospel: The Movement to Unite Feminism Within the Church)

Read more posts in this series:

Before the very beginning



What it means to be human



Unconventional dignity

Behold your God

imago dei defined

Oh, how I love your law

a woman’s place

thoughts on education

interview with Hannah Anderson

Click here to read all the posts from this series.

3 Responses

  1. Excited to read this blog series:)

  2. I will be looking forward to your thoughts. I have been teaching through this book with a group of women at our church.

  3. Thanks for reading. 🙂
    Debbie, you’ll have to share your thoughts too as I work my way through the book.