Introspection and the Reality of Seeking After God According to John Calvin


John Calvin is considered one of the forefathers of the reformation movement, along with Martin Luther and St. Augustine, to name just a few. I read that John Calvin suffered from digestive distress, lost his wife after only 9 years of marriage, never had any kids of his own, persevered through many personal and public hardships, and he was French. My husband is French....well French Canadian but he doesn't speak the language but he loves French food.  Sorry, I digress. 

Calvin is the father of how modern churches function or are set up today. We can find in the book of Timothy what elders and deacons ought to look like in character, but John Calvin is responsible for the application of how these roles are played out in the church.  Many pastors I listen to make reference to John Calvin often. I love the quotes that are used in sermons so it only made sense for me to read these works on my own.

These words are my attempt to understand, paraphrase and decipher what John Calvin wrote about in his Institutes of Christian Religion written in 1536. The following is what I came up with after reading Chapter 1 Section 1.

 
 If we have any wisdom at all, if it is true and solid wisdom, it will consist of two parts. Those two parts are the knowledge of God and of ourselves. Since these two parts of wisdom are interconnected and tied together, it’s not an easy thing to figure out which one, actually if either one of these 2 parts come first or give birth to the other one. 

To begin with, not one of us can truly look, analyze, or pick apart ourselves without first turning our thoughts to God, in whom we live and move.

It is perfectly obvious that the “good things” about ourselves cannot possibly be from ourselves; no, that our exact being is nothing other than God alone sustaining us.

Second of all, the continual blessings we have in life come directly from heaven. These blessings are nothing but streams that connect us to the fountain.

Again, the infinite good that we think we are or have, is of God, making us even more aware that we have nothing.

Basically, due to Adam’s sin against God, we are plunged into this sin as well.

This compels us to turn our eyes up to God, not only because we are desperate, but also due to fear, in that we will eventually learn humility.

There exists in us, something that is basically misery, and ever since we were stripped of godliness our naked shame shows itself, which is one disgrace after another, each of us, being aware of our own unhappiness, eventually leads us to some knowledge of God.

Our feeling towards our lack of knowing things, our desire for beauty, our desire for wanting things, our weaknesses, basically which is depravity and corruption, reminds us that in Christ and none but Christ, lives the true light of wisdom, solid virtue, and amazing goodness.

We are forced, out of the ugly things that reside in us, to consider, ponder and look to the good things of God, even though we can’t sincerely look to Him until and only until we discover the ugliness in ourselves and then become displeased with ourselves.

Seriously, once we see ourselves for what we really are, will we want to rest in ourselves? 
However, if we don’t see ourselves for who we are, we will inevitably want to rest in ourselves.

Naturally we will rest in ourselves as long as we are unknown to who we really are…which is actually being content with what we think are our good traits and we are definitely unaware or unmindful of our own shortcomings.

Every one of us that comes to the knowledge of ourselves is not only recommended to seek God, but in reality is led by God’s own hand to Him.