After class on the first day of the second semester of my sophomore year of college, my roommate walked in and said, “Dude, I met your wife.” I had no idea who she was. We’ve now been married over eight years. Still might have happened had he kept quiet, but who knows.

Around that same time I became enamored with the Apostle Paul. One day a friend casually said to me, “I think maybe you love Paul more than Jesus.” I thought that was a silly thing to say, because my love for Paul was rooted in my love for Jesus. But I took it to heart and started to focus not just on what Paul said about Jesus, but what Jesus said and did. I’ve spent the past nine years obsessing over the Jesus question, and last year I wrote a small book on Jesus in about a month. I’d never have been able to do that had my friend not slightly misinterpreted my love for Paul, or had he not been willing to call me on it.

Before graduation I preached my “senior sermon” in chapel and talked about knowing God. I quoted Jeremiah 9.23-24a (which emphasize the supreme importance of knowing God). Afterwards a friend accused me of ignoring the rest of the verse (which highlights God’s commitment to justice). It took me two years to realize he was right, and I’m still figuring out how to live into the truth he helped me see.

NOTE: In light of my 30th birthday and in honor of the guys who have all the fun, I’ll be offering thirty reflections in thirty days starting December 19th. Today’s post is #4 (see the so-far list here). The only rule is that I have 250 words to make my point. After that just stop reading. Thanks for making my blog part of your internet experience.