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The True You

• Greg Boyd

This initial sermon in our Overwhelmed series was a foundational message about the root of everything that holds us back. God has designed us to have power over our brain and our thought life and it is our responsibility to be disciples of our brain. We must fight against the cultural lies of our world by daily renewing our mind by focusing on who God says we are.


Here is a link for the video that we played before the teaching.

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Today we began our Overwhelmed series with this foundational message that will undergird all the messages in this series. Greg began by noting the five major categories that consistently showed up in a church survey about what holds us back from growing in God. These areas were addiction, unforgiveness, depression, shame and fear/control/anxiety. The focus of this message was to look more closely at the root of everything that holds us back from God.

God has designed us all to have power over our brain. We are more than our brains, and our Spirits are designed by God to govern our thinking. The Bible clearly assumes that we have control over our thought life and commands us to think about certain things that align with our true identity in Christ (Phil. 4:8). The problem is that we live in a cultures that enslaves us to a garbage-filled brain given to us by the culture.

Whatever source (culture or God) we give authority to tell us who we are, we are having faith in. This is consistent with the Darby translation of Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substantiating of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” True faith involves making your hope and expectation a concrete reality in your mind that leads to conviction and confidence. Faith is a life principle and we all live by faith; it is just a matter of where we are choosing to spend our mental energy.

One of the greatest indicators of discipleship is where we find our ultimate source of truth and hope. Can we really believe that there is a source of truth and identity more competent than our own brain? Will we put God’s voice ahead of our own voice? Romans 12:2 notes that our job is to fight against the patterns of this world by continually making new in our mind what God says is actually true about our identity. God proclaims that we are forgiven and freed, holy and blameless, filled with God’s Spirit, more than a conqueror and set free from the law of sin and death. This needs to be the narrative that we live by in our life and the way we remind our brain what is actually true about us.

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Topics: Faith, Fear, Forgiveness

Sermon Series: Overwhelmed

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Audio File
Study guide

Focus Scripture:

  • Philippians 4:8

    Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

  • Hebrews 11:1

    Faith is a reality-like vision (hupostasis) of what you hope for or anticipate (elpizo?) that creates the feeling that it is so (elegchos) even though it isn’t yet.

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8 thoughts on “The True You

  1. diana obrien says:

    A 60 year journey of battling my “old narrative”; since my very first remembrance of being told as a 2 year old (and every day since), that I’m a burden and have nothing that brings my parents joy and others in my life agreeing with this. I am now just making real progress to becoming free and living more of Hebrews 11:1. Learning to daily re-newing the real truth of who I am in Christ.
    This has been one of the best and most timely messages for me in my life journey in and for God’s Kingdom. I have 5 pages of notes and looked up every verse from this message and wrote them down in my notes. Thank you for such an enlightening message. Greg, it was not random or had any rabbit holes!!!!! So good and so needed.
    Worth every minute of listening to and taking notes and chewing on and allowing God’s Spirit to continue his transformation of me.

  2. Dave PRITCHARD says:


    Greg had a NUCLEAR-POWERED level of passion in this one! Super positive and encouraging. At around 39:10 he said something extremely important to consider when sharing the freedom and riches found in Christ.

    This idea of ‘shaming people into repentance’, rather than loving and encouraging them into their own joyful submission, is often exactly what doesn’t allow others to freely and genuinely restructure and renew their minds. The exuberance you radiate for the unsurpassable worth of your ‘brother’ is something that is understood deep down inside by the other person and facilitates their transformation as much as it does your own – “You are to love one another as I have loved you….” – John 13:34 & 15:12

    When this truly happens in a supportive community, in “Koinonia”, it is the key to unlocking the door to your mind and taking captive those thoughts that would destroy our joy that is meant to be shared together. Simply warning someone of potential eternal conscious torment and compliant repentance, is not an act of ‘love’ in and of itself and has been labeled by some theologians as an act of ‘Spiritual Terrorism.’

    The joy of eternal life: “Zoe life” begins in the here and now and when one’s mind is fully illuminated to that fact, it makes the need for a ‘Gospel of stringent punitive consequence’ to melt away.

    “We do not think ourselves into new ways of living, we live ourselves into new ways of thinking.”
    ― Richard Rohr

  3. Peter says:

    As Greg indicated, the content of this message is very important and needs to come to a believer’s attention on a regular basis lest we revert back to the ‘world system’.

    In recent times I have come to see the matter of ‘The True You’ from a slightly different perspective, but nonetheless important and consistent with Greg’s message.

    If we consider the sacrament of marriage, you cannot become a husband or a wife without a spouse. Those that are married or about to marry; each partner has come to marriage with a ‘new’ mind as regards the experience of marriage. While in one sense they have observed their parent’s marriage and/or their friend’s parents, read about marriage and probably seen countless films involving marriage, however, their minds are ‘new’ to the actual experience of marriage.

    By becoming married, the husband and wife are essentially relinquishing their previously single lives to live a married life such that, for their ‘new’ mind (to marriage), requires a renewal in relation to marriage. If not, one or both parties may revert to their previous single way of thinking ie their thoughts and behaviour essentially places their own needs ahead of the other. This could end up with one or both parties not having their ‘marriage’ needs met and could ultimately lead to a breakdown in those relationships.

    We find in Eph 5:22-24 Paul saying in relation to wives,

    “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.”

    And in relation to husbands Eph 5:25-30,

    “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.”

    We can see from these passages, the need for each spouse to consider the other and constantly renew their minds to this task.

    As is also evident from these scriptures, you cannot be a believer or Christian without Christ. And, in this sense, He gives you a new mind that similarly needs to be renewed constantly in following Him and rejecting the ‘world system’ from which we have come (but continue to live in).

    As Paul then summarises in Eph 5:31-32,

    “ “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.”

    Our relationship with Christ is no less, in one sense, than marriage as the Church becomes the Bride of Christ…and being one with Christ as we can never be our true selves without this union.

    This has never been our thinking in the ‘world system’ and therefore requires the renewal that Greg implores so that we can behave consistently with that which we are saved to and not slip back into our old way of thinking/behaviour.

    And lastly, Paul describes our situation further in Eph 4:17-24,

    “Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

  4. Megan Romero says:

    So blessed by this message. I found this video on YouTube after the sermon and it’s my anthem for this stage in my life. Thought I would share in case it may bless someone else as well. Check it out https://youtu.be/c8P7grrFTW0

  5. Serge Auclair says:

    So right Greg. This is why I pay attention not only to what I eat and do but to everything I allow myself to experience. And in order to sort things out I desperately need the Holy Spirit to help me in this because relying on the thinking of my fallen nature is a catch 22 and things would only get worse. Since things keep getting better in my life after many unlikely victories I have the results to say that my relationship with Jesus Christ really yields results and so much more beyond what I could ever anticipate or think of.

    The key to my success? Very simple but you have to do it and do it consistently – that’s the grace I wish on all of us AND for all of us:

    He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

    Psalm 46:10 New International Version (NIV)

  6. Serge Auclair says:

    And thanks for the lesson of Greek language. Much needed and appreciated.

    SA, Montreal QC

  7. Maggi Hutcheson says:


    link to Amena Brown “Betting It All”

  8. Teresa Riley says:


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"My counselor emailed me the True You sermon from your Overwhelmed series to help me believe who God says I am, which was a game changer for sure."

– MK, from Arizona