The term “life skills’ is utterly inadequate to describe what takes place during the Life Skills component of our WORK Training Program. For three-weeks, eight hours a day, students are challenged to take a serious look at themselves, their circumstances and the choices that have led them there. This is an essential first step in gaining accurate self-knowledge.
Regarding “self-knowledge,” John Calvin wrote in the opening paragraph of his magnum opus, The Institutes of the Christian Religion, that “Nearly all wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.”
Kevin DeYoung, writing for The Gospel Coalition offers helpful clarification on this point:
True, Calvin argues that we must know ourselves to know God, but what we must know is our “shaming nakedness” which exposes “a teeming horde of infirmities.” Knowledge of self is indispensable because from “the feeling of our own ignorance, vanity, poverty, infirmity” we can recognize “that the true light of wisdom, sound virtue, full abundance of every good, and purity of righteousness rest in the Lord alone.” The goal is not to discern our personality type or figure out our giftedness or get in touch with our past, though all of these have their place. For Calvin, knowledge of self is essential because we will only begin to seek after God when “we begin to become displeased with ourselves.”
In other words, we must all come to know that we are born wanton sinners, and that we are more often than not, the source of our own misery. It is here that we begin to suffer the burden of our sin and look toward God with repentant sorrow. This is precisely the phenomenon that we witness time and again from students going through our WORK Program’s Life Skills component.
Almost everyone one of the more than 300 people that enter our doors each year begins with a victim mindset, believing they are not responsible for their circumstances. It is amazing to see the transformation that only three weeks can make. How often we hear: “When I first came here, I thought everything bad in my life was someone else’s fault, but I now know that it was mine; I made those choices.” That’s the “bad news” but then comes the “good news:” the gospel!
We have more people come faith in Christ through our WORK Program than any other initiative. Why? Because we are meeting people at a point when they are trying any means to reconcile their lives and when one receives what they know to be a true and accurate diagnosis, they respond to the Great Physician!