All of the Bible is About Jesus

Posted by on 04/16/2014 in: ,

By Olive Tree Employee: LaRosa Johnson

Growing up in church I was always taught that the most important thing to remember about the Bible was the gospel. If you didn’t remember anything else, you should know that Jesus Christ died for your sins. At the time that was great. It meant I only had to focus on four books of the Bible and could simply gloss over or ignore the other sixty-two.

Later on I began to spend more time with the other books of the Bible. As I did I saw how the history of Israel led up to Jesus via prophecy and how the rest of the New Testament taught us how to live the Christian life. It wasn’t until years later that a friend of mine challenged my cursory understanding of the Bible by telling me that all of the Bible was about Jesus. I thought my friend was blowing smoke. Sure, the Old Testament is about the history of Jesus’ family & lineage, but how is it about him? How do Proverbs and Song of Solomon relate to Jesus? Needless to say, as I thought about it and read the Bible more, my friend’s statement started to make sense. Jesus Christ is on every page of Scripture, whether we see it or not.

Gospel Transformation BibleIt’s because of my own experience in trying to understand the gospel throughout the entirety of the Bible that I’m excited about Crossway’s Gospel Transformation Bible. This study Bible is the first of its kind as it shows you how Jesus Christ and the gospel can be found in all sixty-six books of the Bible. Unlike many study Bibles that only help you understand the text based on its immediate context, the Gospel Transformation Bible notes focus on explaining passages as they relate to redemptive history and the gospel. This means that while you may have fewer notes overall, each note is composed in a way that points you to how the gospel message is communicated in light of the context. This study Bible also contains introductions for each book of the Bible that give you a window into how the gospel is found in that book as well as a thorough topical index.

Now, what if you already own the ESV Study Bible? Even if you already own it, you’ll still want to own the Gospel Transformation Bible. No matter the passage you’re studying, the two work together as perfect companions to give you the clearest understanding possible. Where the ESV Study Bible helps you to understand the passage in its immediate context, the Gospel Transformation Bible helps you relate that same passage to the gospel.

All of this puts the Gospel Transformation Bible in a unique position to help Christians everywhere understand the gospel from Genesis to Revelation, and not just in the four gospels. This has quickly become one of my favorite study Bibles and I’m using it every time I open the Bible. Don’t be like me in taking years to understand the fullness of the gospel. Pick up this resource and get there must faster than I did. In closing, I’d like to share a verse from Shai Linne, one of my favorite Christian rappers, as he explains the importance of the gospel in his song “Expository Preaching”:

Y’all should be mindful of this devout thesis//
All of the Bible is about Jesus//
The Old Testament- Jesus Christ concealed//
The New Testament- Jesus Christ revealed//
This truth of the Lord- Christ boldly proclaimed this//
In Luke 24 on the road to Emmaus//
The law, the prophets and the teachings of Apostles//
All of these point back to Jesus and the gospel//
So if the work of Christ is what the Word is about//
Ultimately, it should be what the sermon’s about//
Forget applause, you’ve got to let the cross rock ya//
All roads in the Bible lead to Golgotha//
Whatever the text, faithfulness demands//
That we should hear the echoes of nails hitting His hands//
Don’t try to be original- say the old story//
And watch your people changed as they behold glory//

http://lampmode.bandcamp.com/track/expositional-preaching-shai-linne

Here’s a short video of how the Gospel Transformation Bible notes look and work in the Bible Study App:

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Not Recognizing Jesus

Posted by on 04/16/2014 in:

Not Recognizing Jesus

 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. — Luke 24:13-16

It’s easy to read this passage and think “How in the world were they not recognizing Jesus?!?”  But taking into account what they said, I can appreciate what they were going through.  They were sad, hurting, afraid, and confused.  And Jesus kept them from recognizing Him.

NOT RECOGNIZING JESUS IN MY OWN LIFE

A few days ago, I ran into a former co-worker.  It had been over a year since we connected, so there was a lot to catch up on.  After the initial questions of small talk, the conversation turned to our former workplace.  She left about nine months after I did, and gave me some insight on how things went.  Hearing the stories, change, and “occurrences” reminded me of the goodness of God. I realized how I often have my eyes closed to the reality of Christ and His direction in my life.  A renewed sense of the sovereignty and grace of God swept over me during our conversation.

I don’t always recognize Christ in my daily life.  From my everyday encounters, to those monumental life events, do I truly open my eyes to see Jesus? In times where my family is sick, finances are tight, or work is stressful, do I remember to look for Christ? Fortunately, Jesus gives us “breaking of bread” reminders to gently lead, guide, and direct us.

JESUS OPENS OUR EYES

 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. — Luke 24:30-31

Like these two disciples, I need the jolts, nudges, and reminders to open my eyes to the risen Christ.  Thankfully, Jesus “interprets to us in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself”. He leads us by the Holy Spirit to open our eyes.

Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. — Luke 24:25

I am thankful that Jesus makes Himself known through everyday events.  It’s up to me to proclaim the risen Christ to others and remember that “The Lord has risen indeed!”

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The Cross Demands Forgiveness

Posted by on 04/15/2014 in:

The CrossBy Olive Tree Employee: LaRosa Johnson

Holy Week is a somber time of the year for me. As I look at the gospel accounts that detail the crucifixion of Jesus, I often ask myself, “What’s so good about Good Friday? Jesus died. He was brutally murdered. How can that possibly be good?” From there, I am reminded of the weight of my own sin that forced him to come and die on the cross. Ultimately, I find relief knowing that Jesus didn’t stay in the tomb, but rose again victorious. Yet, why did God do all of that? He did it to pay the penalty of our sins that we might be forgiven.

Yes, when we look at the cross, we are asked to look at the subject of forgiveness and reconciliation. The perfect place for us to turn in the Bible to look at the forgiveness found in the cross isn’t in the gospels, but it is found in Paul’s epistle to the Romans, Romans 5:6-11 to be exact. In this short paragraph we see statements like: “Christ died for the ungodly,” “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” and “we were reconciled to God.” Jesus Christ didn’t come to bring salvation to those of us who were already on his team; no, he came to give his life on behalf of his enemies so that we could be forgiven and found righteous in the sight of the one perfect and holy God. We were saved to be spared from the wrath of God (v. 9), even though it came at the expense of the shed blood of God’s only begotten son.

Now, just think about the cross for a moment and look at Paul’s illustration in verse 7. As a husband and father, the odds are pretty good that I’d risk my life and die to save my family. I might even be persuaded to do it for a friend. Ask me to do it for my enemy and I’d tell you that you’d lost your mind! But, this is precisely what Christ did for us, with us being God’s enemy because of our sins against him. He took our punishment upon himself. By his blood he justified & saved us, and we are reconciled to God through his resurrection life. How mind blowing is that?!

We can still take this a step further. 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 tells us that we, as Christians, have now been given the ministry of reconciliation that was once Christ’s. This means that it is now our job to: 1) forgive others like Christ forgave us, and 2) tell others about the forgiveness that can be found in God. First, we should look at our own lives and how awful our sins are in the sight of God; yet, as vile offenders against his law and holiness, he chose to forgive and bring about our reconciliation. If God was willing to do that for us, how much more should we extend that same compassion toward everyone in our lives (Luke 7:41-43, 47)? Even as we’re forgiving others, it is also our job to tell them that their sins can be forgiven through the blood of Christ. Jesus didn’t die just for me, but his mission was to save so many more.

While Holy Week might indeed be a somber time, I’m glad that it can also brighten my spirit. Jesus didn’t just die; he died to pay the penalty for my sin. He didn’t just rise again, but he rose to bring about my forgiveness and righteous standing before God. As a result, the cross demands forgiveness. The cross was the stipulation of our forgiveness with God, and it is also the vehicle that demands we forgive others in the same manner that we’ve been forgiven. For me, that’s what this week is all about.

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Resurrection, Reconciliation, Restoration

Posted by on 04/14/2014 in:

I can’t think of any bigger understatement than saying what we celebrate this coming weekend is ‘significant’. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus absolutely changed everything! When Jesus died and rose again – three days later – it reversed the centuries old curse of sin and death that was over all humanity.

Resurrection
Jesus fulfilled hundreds of impossible to fulfill prophecies about the messiah that had been written centuries before but the most amazing of all was that after three days in a grave, he was alive! What did this mean? In the history of the world no one had ever lived and died a sinless life. Jesus – God in the flesh – did. In that instant the sin that we’re all born into was stripped of its power. Things on this Earth would never be the same. As John ends his account of Jesus life he says, But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.His resurrection proved he was who he said he was.

Reconciliation
What does this mean today? It means absolutely everything! What Jesus did made a way to be free from the power that sin once held over us. Where sin makes us strangers and even enemies of God, Jesus death and resurrection makes us sons and daughters of God. This type of reconciliation had never been known and now it’s accessible to anyone who believes. In Romans 5:10-11 the Apostle Paul says, For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Restoration
Not only did Jesus resurrection set into motion the reconciliation available to all who believe but we now get to be agents of his reconciliation while we await the restoration of all things. The book of Revelation tells us of this day that will come: And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”

Resurrection, Reconciliation, and Restoration; this is the good news of the Gospel of Jesus! This Easter and in the days following let’s not only be reminded of the power of what Jesus did but let’s be actively living in the reality of it.

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Where is Joy?

Posted by on 04/05/2014 in:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
– The Apostle Paul in Galatians 5:22-23

The very nature of joy makes nonsense of our common distinction between having and wanting.
– C.S. Lewis in Surprised By Joy

Are you in a spot in your life where joy seems to be missing? Maybe it’s been so long you’re not sure if you’ve actually ever experienced joy?

Where do we find joy?
The message that popular culture communicates through music, movies, television, and the internet is a message of selfishness, yet this is where so many people turn to get answers for the deep questions of longing and belonging that they have. Popular culture answers our questions with another question: What do you need, want, or desire?
So for the person asking where to find hope, the culture answers, “The hope you need is found in you.” or “Just do what makes you feel good.” If the answer to our need for hope is ourselves, is it any wonder why suicide is at an all-time high in the U.S.?

Last week we heard the story of Nick Vujicic who responded to Jesus and found the hope he so desperately needed. The type of hope Nick found isn’t in anything our culture creates because it’s only found in Jesus. If you’re looking for joy in your life, the answer is the same. It’s only found in Jesus and it only remains when our perspective in this life is firmly rooted in him.

The Apostle Paul –in Galatians 5- talks about what happens when our relationship with Jesus takes over our life and the Holy Spirit becomes the source of life we draw from. This type of life source is evident by the fruit it produces in our lives. So how do we experience joy? Where do we find it? We find and experience it when we place our faith in Jesus and make him the foundation and source for our life. And this joy is different than what the world has to offer. We don’t have joy because of our circumstances, we have joy despite them.

One of my favorite examples of this is found in Acts 16:16. Paul and Silas had just been stripped naked, beaten by a mob and put in prison – all for helping a slave girl. How did they respond? Instead of having a ‘woe is me’ attitude we see them praying and worshiping God in their prison cell in the middle of the night! How many of us have a hard time singing on Sunday because of a rough week and here are Paul and Silas – having endured incredible physical pain – keeping their perspective not on their circumstance but on their Savior.

So what about me?
The challenge is the same for us today. Despite our circumstance, if we keep our focus on Jesus, our perspective will be long-term and we can see past the pains of today to the hope of tomorrow. This is where we find joy – in the assurance that our God reigns, he’s alive with us, and we will be with him forever! So despite what you’re going through take joy and no matter what, always keep your perspective on your Savior and not your circumstance. When believers do this the world takes notice and the real answer to the question is revealed: Jesus!

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What does Amen mean?

Posted by on 03/29/2014 in: ,

There are quite a few words that you’ll only ever hear in church. For instance, you’ll often hear invitations to a ‘fellowship’ activity announced on a Sunday morning, but the chances are you won’t use the word fellowship to invite your friend over for a BBQ or to watch the Super Bowl. One word that is used today, in churches all around the world, is the word Amen. Although many people use it in the right context, some may not actually know what it means. So what does the word Amen actually mean?

Amen is an ancient Hebrew word and is primarily used in three ways in the scriptures:

At the beginning of a discourse/statement/sermon. In these cases Amen would often mean (and be translated) as verily, or truly.

  • Matthew 5:18 is an example of this:
    “For truly [Amen], I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”

In the Old Testament it’s also used as a descriptor of the character of God being true and/or faithful.

  • Deuteronomy 7:9 says, “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful [Amen]God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.”
    See also: Isa. 49:7, 65:16.

The most common placement of Amen is at the end of a prayer, sermon, or statement – as an agreement. It could then be translated as ‘so be it’, ‘so it is’,  or ‘may it be fulfilled’. These still have the similar ideas of truth, faith, or belief in.

  •  The Bible actually ends with this affirmation in Revelation 22:20-21: “He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.”

So, while many people haven’t researched the Hebrew roots, chances are, most have always had a basic understanding of what Amen means and have been using it in the right context. Hopefully this helps give you a bit larger picture of the meaning and you can shout, “Amen” with more authority the next time your Pastor is preaching.

If you’re interested in doing similar word studies on your own, consider buying a Bible with Strong’s or a Bible Dictionary like Vine’s that make word study as easy as a click or tap in The Bible Study App.

Right now we’re doing a special giveaway and you can get the ESV with Strong’s for free.

Go here to get it now!

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The Happiest Place on Earth

Posted by on 03/12/2014 in:

I don’t travel to new places very often; I love being at home. A couple weeks ago I broke the mold and traveled to southern California to spend time with my sister, and we spent a Saturday at Disneyland. The day was a happy whirl of rides, lines, ice cream, and warm sunshine, but around 3:30 that afternoon, when the park was at its most busy and we couldn’t walk without bumping into someone, I began to feel the effects of the crowds. As a child, I might have pitched a fit. But as such tantrums are not tolerated with adults (however much we might want to), I agreed with my sister that a half hour break in the car would be good for both of us. I recognized unmistakable symptoms of being overtired, irritable, and, in this new environment with so many unknown faces, a little fragile, too.

The next day, my sister and I visited my grandma who had recently suffered a minor stroke. My sister and I helped her from her wheelchair to the hospital bed, and she lay there helplessly, unable to use her arms to prop herself up on the bed. My sister and the nurse hoisted her up, and we stood over her, looking down.  She grabbed our hands, hers still surprisingly firm and strong, and said to us, “I’m sorry you have to see me at my worst.” I smiled at her and squeezed her hand, but my insides wrinkled uncomfortably as I recalled the day before, overwhelmed in the happiest place on earth, ready to burst into tears like a petulant child. My grandma’s worst didn’t seem that much different than my worst.

Two weeks later, I sat in the Ash Wednesday service at church and listened to the words of invitation to the observance of Lent:Wooden cross isolated on white

“Friends in Christ, every year at the time of the Christian Passover, we celebrate our redemption through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Lent is a time to prepare for this celebration and to renew our life in the paschal mystery. We begin our journey to Easter with the sign of ashes. This ancient sign speaks of the frailty and uncertainty of human life and marks the penitence of this community.”

As the sign of the cross was marked on my forehead with ashes, I was struck by the troubling paradox in the words of invitation, new life and frailty in the same breath. It’s like Lent itself, a season marked by penitence and fasting, which is puzzlingly placed at the time of year when the created world is bursting into new life. The grass becomes green again, the trees straighten towards the light, and flowers emerge from the cold ground.

I realized as I felt the ash on my forehead that my grandma and I both represented the paradox of Lent. My grandma, whose earthly body is failing, is headed for the new life that awaits us in heaven, where the earthly wear and tear fades away forever. While still young and healthy, I have my own frailty in wrestling with the sin and brokenness that are inherent to human life. And yet, the promise of new life still extends to me in the culmination of Lent, that glorious triumph of the cross of Christ. I like Disneyland and all, but surely living in the light of new life, even with the shadow of death, is the happiest place on earth.

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Where is Patience?

Posted by on 02/13/2014 in: ,

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such bigstock-HS-Patience-48914204things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)

If we’re honest, most of us would admit that one of our least favorite words is patience. In a ‘me first’ western culture we can often get what we want, when we want it. Whether it’s Burger King saying, “Have it your way” or the Staples slogan, “That was easy,” our natural desire to be selfish only seems to be magnified by the messages marketed to us on a daily basis, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the message of patience is nearly impossible to find in our culture. For those who have placed their faith in Jesus, however, patience is the fruit of God’s Spirit at work within us.

It’s easy to read about the people in the Bible that God used in amazing ways and yet forget about where God showed up in the timeline of their lives. The theme of patience and endurance is one we see throughout scripture. Abraham and his wife Sarah weren’t young when they finally had the child God had promised. Joseph spent years in jail on wrong accusations before he became a powerful leader, fulfilling the dreams God had given him. Moses lived a non-descript life before God called him to lead his people out of Egypt. The Israelites had to spend 40 years in the desert before God released them into the Promised Land. Even Jesus didn’t start his public ministry until he was 30 years old.

If you’ve ever been in a place in your spiritual growth or your ministry where you feel that nothing is happening, you can take great comfort that you’re in good company. God is always concerned more about our depth of character than our width of ministry.  So how do you know if God is working in your life during a season where nothing seems to be happening? Jesus answers that question in the ‘Parable of the Sower’ in Luke 8.
“As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15, ESV).

If you’ve placed your faith in Jesus, hear God’s Word, and are holding it fast in your heart, then be on the lookout for seasons of patience and embrace them. As you do, be reminded that you’re walking the same spiritual road as Abraham and Sarah, Joseph, and Moses. And  God used these individuals to change whole cultures.

Patience and God’s Timing
When my son was three, he and I were hanging out at home and lunch time was fast approaching. He was getting increasingly irritable and fussy, and I hadn’t quite learned how important it was to feed kids on time. He then asked me when lunch time was, and I told him I’d start making it in five minutes. Instead of saying, “Sounds good Dad,” my three-year-old son (to my ignorant surprise) proceeded to throw a tantrum that made me wonder if he had heard me say five hours instead of five minutes. As I quickly made him a delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich two thoughts hit me.

First, my son didn’t have a concept of time. As an adult, waiting five  minutes is nothing. For a preschooler with no concept of time, any amount of waiting is too long, whether it’s five minutes or five days.

Second, I am just like my son. Sure, I may not throw a fit if I have to wait five minutes but if something doesn’t happen on my timeline my response isn’t much more mature than his. How many times have I approached God and said, “Here’s what I need and when I need it.” The big problem here is that if God doesn’t answer my prayers on my timeline then I assume he’s just not going to answer them. But this isn’t necessarily true. While a young child has no concept of time, we as adults also don’t understand God’s concept of time because it’s eternal. He sees our needs  but through the perspective of eternity. Though we don’t have an eternal viewpoint, God’s eternal viewpoint should give us comfort that God provides our needs and our answers at just the right time.

Jesus’ brother James says this about patience and God’s timing:
“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” (James 5:7-8, ESV).

As sons and daughters of a perfect and loving God, being patient is evidence of our trust and faith in our heavenly Father. As we pray and make requests of our Father we can be confident that his timing is the best timing.

Take time to reflect on both answered and unanswered prayers. When and how did God answer those prayers?
For those prayers that have yet to be answered, ask God for his perspective and trust in his perfect timing.

 

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Gospel-Powered Parenting

Posted by on 02/10/2014 in:

By Guest Blogger: Bill Farley

gospel powered parenting

The gospel is the most important tool for parenting. For many parents this statement is surprising. When most Christians hear the word “gospel” they think of soul-winning. The gospel saves unbelievers. While this is true, the gospel is much more than a message for the lost. To the apostles the gospel was the message that saved people, but it was also a comprehensive moral and spiritual map for all of life. That includes marriage, vocation, and parenting.

By the gospel I mean the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The gospel is the good news about everything that God has done to save us from eternity past to eternity future. It starts with the Father’s electing love, and ends with a new heavens and a new earth.

The goal of Christian parents is to parent our children as God has parented us. More than anywhere else in the Bible the gospel unpacks how God loves, serves, and disciplines his sons and daughters. The gospel also shows us ourselves. Everything we need to know about our value to God as well as the depths of our sinfulness, God reveals to us through the gospel.

Therefore, when it comes to our children, nothing could be more important than how to apply the gospel to our parenting. The Bible contains little teaching about parenting (only 2 verses in the New Testament). That is because the gospel is the paradigm for parenting. We can derive many parenting principles from the gospel. Here are some examples.

Should we focus on protecting our children from the world or on bringing them into new birth? The Bible stresses the positive. “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world” (1 John 5:4). Do we really believe this? If this is true, a good offense, combined with a proper understanding of new birth, is more important than protecting them from the world.

What parental virtue is most apt to attract God’s blessing? Surprisingly, it is not love, discipline or Bible study. Scripture testifies overwhelmingly that God blesses the parent that learns to fear him, and we get that fear from the gospel.

What are the characteristics of all effective disciplinarians? First, they have a clear understanding of indwelling sin. Second they are comfortable with the authority that God has given them. Third, they love their children with God’s affection. The gospel instructs us on all three.

Last, most parents experience times of crushing failure and discouragement. The gospel encourages parents with the grace that they need when they feel discouraged, defeated, or inadequate.

In summary, go deep with the gospel, and God will amplify your children’s faith through. God will bless your children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. They will marry believers, enjoy a vibrant faith, stay married, rejoice in the privilege of children, joyfully serve local churches, and honor their parents. What could be better than that?

Bill is the senior pastor of Grace Christian Fellowship, a non-denominational Evangelical church, which he planted with several other families in Spokane, Washington. Check out his book Gospel-Powered Parenting which is on sale this week.

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The Truest Thing About You

Posted by on 02/01/2014 in: ,

Guest Blogger: David LomasTruest Thing About You

There are many true things about you. You may be a student. You may be a mom. You may love someone of the opposite sex or the same sex. You may make music or lattes. Life may be incredibly difficult, or you may feel like you’re living the dream.

These things may be true—but are they the truest?

Fried chicken is food, true, and so is a kale salad. But Jesus declared that He is the truest food. See, other things may have the appearance of being able to satisfy the deep needs of our bodies and even our souls, but Jesus declares that He is even truer food and truer drink.

So even among truths, there are true things and there are truer things.

Jesus wants to get to the truer things, the things so deeply true about you that they have the power to change everything else, including the merely true things.

What if the truest thing about you can cause you to reimagine your entire life? What if the truest thing about you can drown out all the noise and speak the words that you’ve waited for your whole life?

What the Gospel demands we ask is this: what does God say is the truest thing about us?

We aren’t always comfortable asking that question, and sometimes we only pretend to ask it. We give an answer we think we ought to give, an answer that identifies us as one of the good kids or a good Christian or a good citizen. Those answers are too easy. They’re cheap. All our lives we’ve been trained to answer that question in particular ways for particular people.

We define ourselves differently to different people. I’m a good worker, a good parent, I’m a failure, I’m beautiful, I’m hideous, I’m loved, I’m not.

And maybe you answer it differently when you’re by yourself, when you ask it of yourself. Dancing alone, driving alone, sit- ting at a cafe alone, tapping snooze on your alarm for the seventh time, the tenth time, because there isn’t one single reason you can come up with for getting out of bed on a sunny Saturday.

You answer it differently every time because you feel different every time you’re asked. A different person with every shifting truth.

Here’s the problem: you’re clinging to true things about your- self that simply aren’t that true. You’re elevating things that are merely true—or half-true, or true some days but not others—to the level of “truest.” I know you’re doing this—because I do it too. We all do. It’s the human condition.

Be clear: many destructive things we believe are very much true! We do fail, we did lose the money, we aren’t as beautiful, we were abused.

The problem is that we have pushed many of these merely true things down to the most fundamental layer of who we are and in so doing have built our whole lives and identities on them.

These things can be true, but we need to discover that they are not, and never will be, the truest thing.

David Lomas is the Lead Pastor at Reality/SF and the author of the book The Truest Thing About You (David C. Cook) which launches today! You can follow him on Twitter @davidlomas

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