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Review: The Gift of being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery – Chapter 6

Chapter 6 – Becoming Your True Self

In the section “An Identity Grounded In God”, Mr. Benner said “No one born with an identity, and Jesus was no exception” to emphasis that Jesus is a fully man (although he is fully God at the same time). Thus, Jesus has to discover who he was when he was growing up.

The Bible for Protestant does not include much detail about Jesus’s childhood, expect “a few stories of visitors during infancy and the family’s movements to and from Egypt” and “his visit to the temple at age twelve” and stayed in Jerusalem “sitting among the doctors”, listening and asking questions without follow his parents to leave for home. Mr. Benner tried guessing how Jesus had grown humanly from an infant to the age of twelve.

Mr. Benner believed that Jesus, no different from other children, was “in relation to their parents”. However, Mr. Benner believed that Mary is very prominent as she was a woman “apart from all others” by quoting Luke 1:29, 42, 38 – a most blessed woman highly favored by God being selected with “standfast confidence in trustworthiness of God’s love” and willing to humbly surrenders to God’s will. Jesus learnt by witness his earthly mother Mary and internalized all these, together with the possibility of “deep conviction that he was the “Son of the most High””, “visits of the shepherds and wise men”, “prophecies of Simeon and Anna” and his family viewing him as “the promised and long-awaited savior” to Israel.

To be honest, I am less convicted of the speculation made by Mr. Benner – if this was not something recorded in Bible, I believe there could be other sensible guesses. After all, a woman “highly favour by God” does not necessarily meant that favour comes directly from her good faith. And even she has a good faith, does it necessary means that Jesus had to learn through Mary? Apart from this, can we have better or other valid guesses? Any impact if development along this chapter was build on this?

Going back to the incident at 12, when Mary found Jesus with the doctors and she expressed her emotions.

“Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” Luke 2 v48b

Jesus replied

“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Luke 2 v49-50

and Mary didn’t say a word and the bible said Joseph and Mary didn’t understand. What if she understood? My guess is that she would probably remember or understood without puzzling he was the Son of God? Probably she can relate this incident to what she had experienced. Let’s think this way, if we were Mary (no matter you are male or female, come on 🙂 ) and we experienced Luke 1:26-38 at their time, can we fully believe what we were experiencing? For me, I would probably doubt if I was in some kinds of mental disorders. As the story continues to unfold in Luke 1 v39 and beyond, Mary may get a bit more understanding, probably until Jesus was hanged on the cross, incinerated and resurrected she got the full picture what’s meant by the Son of God and the Savior.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the work and effort of Mr. Benner to integrate psychology, personal growth and Christian spirituality. The Gift of Being Yourself also gives insights and reflections along the way I read it and I would recommend it, but just that there was a few points that I have some doubts and need further research.


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Limit & Guidance

But a lot of ways has closed behind me, and that’s had the same guiding effect… there is as much guidance in what does not and cannot happen in my life as there is in what can and does – maybe more.”

“… I was raised in a subculture that insisted I could do anything I wanted to do, be anything I wanted to be, if I were willing to make the effort.”

“My troubles began, of course, when I started to slam into my limitations, especially in the form of failure”

“If you are like me and don’t readily admit your limits, embarrassment may be the only way to get your attention… finally, I may forced to face my nature and find out whether I can make something of both my gifts and my limitations.”

(Ch3 When Way Closes @ Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation – Parker J. Palmer)

Thinking of my way forward… I can’t accept not trying but pushing brutally also harms and result in failures. There are limits, accepting them requires self-acceptance.

Somehow, there may be chances to get through them sometime in the future. If that can be breaking through, I learn to see them as opportunities to growth. If that can’t, I learn to accept it as part of my imperfect self, learn to forget the way closed and to take ways still opens.

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退修 x 書研 x 食

2014-04-05 14.40.35

一行四人去咗百大尼退修, 星期五晚到星期日, 斬前斬後其實只係得星期六。其實目的都係想抖抖同一齊書研,schedule 呢家嘢都係星期六早餐先 draft。早上食過早餐,回房安靜一下便是午餐,下午就是書硏,夜晚唱完歌仔之後各自回巢安靜然後去食宵夜。


上次去百大尼都無敏感,但係今次就不停今打噴嚏,咳同眼癢,今日臨走嘅時候真係忍唔到,走咗去萬寧買咗盒抗敏藥。跟據弟兄所講,呢盒「百利通」係政府診所三寶之一。$87.9 60粒,食咗一粒唔使十五分鐘見效 😀


睇完就算真係有d浪費,所以睇書嘅時候 jot 咗 d notes幫助自己整理下d points

書研:  團契生活 – 獨處的日子
上帝呼召你的時侯你是單獨的站在他面前,單獨的跟從他的呼召、 背十架、 戰爭襑告、死去、 向上帝交賬
這個呼召卻不是單獨對你-你在蒙召者中背十架、 戰爭襑告
獨處的標誌是靜默 slience,團契的標誌是言語 speech
  • 讓人能聽見上帝的道 – 聽道前: 讓思想放在上帝的道上;聽道後: 上帝的道仍然向我們說話,並要活在我們心裡
  • 個人在上帝之道下一種肅然起敬的態度
  • 等候上帝的話並從之得到祝福
  • 為了讀經、禱告、代襑
* 除了純然等待上帝的話外,誰也不該期待什麼
  • 共同靈修讀的是較長及連貫的經文(寬度、整全);默想卻應選用較短的經文,並盡可能一星期不加以更改(深度)
  • 跟據上帝的應許等待上帝和自己說話教導
  • 需要弄清楚經文的內容,但卻不是釋經及作聖經研究
  • 從禱告開始,但不同咬文嚼字
  • 在一個抓住我們字眼上停下來,思想,讓道進入住在我們裡面,並留下工作的果效
  • 不去尋找新觀念以致分散注意力及助長虛榮
  • 默想聖經,讓之帶領進入禱告,準備在自己的景況中領受上帝的道
  • 祈求上帝清楚指示我們今天的生活,保守我們不要犯罪,在成聖的路上長大,在工作中有力和忠心
  • 若思想不能集中,想到別的人和事,我們可把這些納入禱告中,再耐心地返回默想的起點
  • 不能為所有人代禱
  • 首先要記念那些和我們生活在一起的人
  • 信徒團契得以存活有賴於彼此代禱
    • 若為一個給我麻煩的弟兄代禱,我也不能責備、痛恨他。因在我為他禱告時變為弟兄的面孔,使我醒悟基督也是為他而死,所以他同樣是一個蒙恩的罪人
    • 代禱就是讓弟兄站在基督面前並分享祂的憐憫
  • 是思典卻又是責任
  • 獨自生活在非信徒環境的時間
  • 團契生活 – 促進個人的自由、剛強和成熟 vs 叫人不能自主,只能依賴他人
  • 默想 –
    • 把人帶到上帝的真實世界,使他剛強壯膽,身心清潔以面對白天?能將上帝的話語植根在心中,叫人清醒度日,堅忍不拔,有力行善,有愛心,謙卑順服
    • 把人帶領到一個不真實的世界,以致當他回到日常生活時大吃一驚? 令人片刻飄飄欲仙,碰到現實便告消逝?


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Sin, Confess & Salvation (Romans 7:15-25)

Romans 7:15-25

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

15 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. 16 But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good.17 So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. 19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. 20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

21 I find then the [a]principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. 22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God [b]in the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in [c]the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner [d]of the law of sin which is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from [e]the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.


  1. Romans 7:21 Lit law
  2. Romans 7:22 Or concerning
  3. Romans 7:23 Lit my members
  4. Romans 7:23 Lit in
  5. Romans 7:24 Or this body of death

v15-v16 – one player – that’s “I”

v17 – two players – “I” and the sin”

v18 – whatever it is that is dwelling in you is not you

v19-21 – evil and sin is the nature of that “nothing good” which indwells
vs Romans 6:12 – “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.”
-> this is our responsibility not to let sin reign in our mortal body

v22 – when we act out of character with who we really are, the Holy Spirit immediately brings conviction before of our union with God. This explain the endless sin-confess cycle.
To break the cycle – 1) submit to God 2) resist the devil i.e. “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)  and 3) close the door and don’t open it again!

v23 – “waging war again the law of the mind” – the war is in mind (a thought, then on flesh?)

v24 – It means “miserable man that I am” instead of “wicked or sinful man that I am” – he knows and want to do right but he can’t

v25 – the victory is Jesus Christ our lord ( Romans 8)

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life [a]inChrist Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death….

Q – Jesus condemned sin in the flesh and thought him we our sinful nature could be condemned as well??


P.53- P.59 The Bondage Breaker, Neil. T. Anderson

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