Cultivating Authenticity

Insights from The Weekly REBOOT

By: Evan Owens

If you’ve been following along in our blog series called “Authentic,” you might recall that we dove into the intriguing narrative of the fig tree, unraveling profound insights during our previous blog. Today, we continue exploring the relevance of authenticity in our lives, drawing inspiration from biblical symbolism and personal reflections.


Our discussion began with Jesus on his way to the temple, a sacred space embodying Jewish life and religious fervor. Anticipating a haven of prayer and faith, Jesus is met with a disconcerting sight. The temple, a hub of spiritual activity, has transformed into a marketplace. Instead of solemn devotion, financial transactions dominate the scene. The clash between appearances and reality sparks Jesus’s righteous anger. The temple, though adorned with ceremony, lacks any genuine sacrifice. 

The fig tree becomes a poignant precursor to this temple story. Symbolizing biblical prophetic imagery, the fig tree, covered with leaves, deceives observers into expecting fruitfulness. However, when Jesus goes to pick a fig, none are found, and he curses the tree. This story is a warning of keeping up appearances when our reality is much different.

We connected the dots of this story to our REBOOT journey. If we aren’t careful, our newfound healing can lure us into a facade of inauthenticity. The confidence we gain from the healing we experience tempts us to drift back to the shadows of secrecy and isolation that once defined our lives. Yet, true healing demands humility, rooted in authenticity. True healing requires a commitment to honesty with ourselves and others.

The Green and the Brown Plant

In my office, there’s this vibrant, green plant – a lively addition that transforms the space into something warm and welcoming, less like a typical office and more like a comforting home.

Now, picture a different scenario. Envision walking into my office, and instead of the lively greenery, there’s a brown, withered plant with leaves falling off. What conclusions would you draw about my care for this plant? It’s so dry that a gentle shake causes its leaves to cascade to the ground.

Take a moment to reflect on these two plants. What sets them apart? Why does one stay green while the other turns brown?

I’d bet your thoughts on the green staying vibrant and the brown withering involve factors like water, sunlight, and good soil. That’s because, much like plants, our growth depends on the right environment and engagement.

Elements of a Healing Environment
For us to heal, we need the right elements in our environment, and we must actively engage with them. At REBOOT, we’ve identified four essential elements crucial to any healing environment. Let’s dive into the first one, and it’s no surprise…

Community – We’ve emphasized this point extensively because who you spend time with matters. You become the average of your five closest connections. So, choosing wisely is paramount. We even have activities like creating a list of eight or building an emergency plan, recognizing that your inner circle could be the difference between healing and remaining hurt.

The Word of God – At REBOOT, we don’t claim to have groundbreaking ideas. My role as a teacher is to immerse myself in the Word and then share it with you in relatable, contextualized ways. It’s a significant responsibility, and I take it seriously. Nothing, however, can replace your independent time alone with the Bible. As a preacher once said, “You spend all your time on Facebook, but you need to have your face in the book.” Cheesy but true. There’s no substitute for letting God teach, edify, correct, and encourage through scripture.

Prayer – Imagine if I only spoke to my wife for 30 seconds before dinner each day. What kind of relationship would we have? Probably none. Yet, that’s often how we approach prayer – a few words before dinner and call it good. Prayer is much more. It’s our opportunity to express ourselves, our needs, desires, hurts, and sins to God. It’s about aligning our will with His. Prayer isn’t a Christmas list of wishes sent to a cosmic Santa; it’s aligning our will with His, ensuring that even if we don’t get what we want, we’ll get what we need. Without prayer, our communication channel with our Father stays closed, and He feels further away.

Holy Spirit – Think of the Holy Spirit as spiritual night vision goggles. Just as night vision goggles reveal what’s hidden in the dark, the Holy Spirit illuminates the spiritual context of our lives, allowing us to see things differently. It’s not about distortion, like beer goggles; it’s about revealing the truth. The Holy Spirit sets off an alarm, signaling there’s something spiritual going on that requires our attention.

These four elements – Community, the Word of God, Prayer, and the Holy Spirit – are essential, the ingredients for good soil. If our lives are firmly planted in soil containing these elements, we’re likely to bear fruit. Without them, we risk becoming like the fig tree, striving to look the part without actually bearing the fruit we pretend to have. And that’s exhausting.

As you consider these elements, think about your healing environment. Do you have all of them? How do they factor into your daily life? Where are you strongest, and where could you improve?

Let’s read Matthew 23:27-28

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside, you appear righteous, but on the inside, you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”

Jesus’s warning about appearing righteous while harboring hypocrisy within directly relates to our topic of being authentic. Recall the initial plant comparison – what made one green and the other brown. This led us to the discussion about a healing environment.

Building on what we learned, we can’t always judge a tree by its color. Remember, the fig tree from the Bible story looked green and lush, appearing ready to bear fruit, but it wasn’t.

The plants from my office that I’ve described aren’t what they seem either. One is dead, and the other is alive. 

The beautiful, lush, green plant is plastic.
It’s not authentic. It doesn’t even have a root system. It’s fake, giving the illusion of thriving without being truly alive. People notice it and assume I must be doing a great job taking care of it – when, in fact, I’m doing nothing because it’s plastic.

On the other hand, the brown plant is alive, real, with a root system – authentic. It has weathered the cold, fought through winter, and is dormant now, but it will thrive again. We’ve nurtured it, watered it, given it good soil, and protected it from the cold. It started small but has grown into a giant plant, on the mend after a few neglected months.

It can heal because it’s alive – a genuine article, the real thing, authentic. Just like you.

Let’s be honest – many of us try to look like the plastic plant but feel like the brown one. Yet, the brown one is alive and fighting. You are alive and fighting. God isn’t finished with you. He hasn’t cursed you like the fig tree. He’s challenging you to be real, to let your roots grow into good soil, rich with elements found in a healing environment. Dive into God’s word, spend time in prayer, listen to the Holy Spirit, and engage in a strong spiritual community.

You might have been through some winters, and your leaves are browner than before, but soon enough, you’ll be lush, green, and thriving with life. Your role simply is to plant the roots of your life in an authentic healing environment. 

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