“Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.” (John 1:47) What a beautiful statement. Jesus saw Nathanael approaching and that is what he said. The word used here (eidō) tells us that he didn’t just see Nathanael, but he saw into Nathanael. And when he saw into the heart of Nathanael, he saw that there was nothing false. The Greek word for false is dolos, which means deceit or trickery. Thus, Nathanael was not pretending to be someone he was not. He was not covering up or hiding behind anything. He was not posturing or jockeying for position. He was not acting or trying to fool anyone. He was simply being himself. He was being his true—created in the image of God—self. I think that’s why Nathanael responds to Jesus with the beautiful words, “How do you know me?” He didn’t argue with Jesus or try to correct him. He didn’t try to deflect or deny the statement, he simply embraced it. I think Nathanael did this because he knew to his core that he was being exactly who God made him to be.
O how I long for the same. Don’t you? How I long to be the beautiful creation that God intended me to be when he breathed me into being. But, more often than not, I tend to be something else altogether. I do not regularly live out of my true self, but out of some distorted version of that. I tend to live out of a false self instead. That self that is a product of my deepest fears, doubts, and insecurities. That self that is constantly trying to prove to myself and my world that I am, indeed, worth loving. It is what I like to call the manufactured self, because it is a self of my own making; a response to my trying to create an identity for myself out of fear that the one I’ve been given is not good enough. And any identity (or self) that I create can only be false, because my true identity can only be given (bestowed) to me by the One who made me.
Lord Jesus, help me to be my best self today; the one you dreamt me to be when you breathed me into existence. Amen.