The Litmus Test

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So Jesus told them, “My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me. Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own. Those who speak for themselves want glory only for themselves, but a person who seeks to honor the one who sent him speaks truth, not lies. (John 7:16-18)

Read: Proverbs 8:1 – 10:32

Relate: Arnold Villanueva. I bet you have never heard of the guy, but I am also willing to bet he had an impact on your high school (or junior high) education. Do you remember taking one of those little strips of paper and putting it into “unknown” fluids to see if the strip would turn a different color? A red paper turning blue means you are dealing with a base. A blue paper turning red shows that you have an acid. Am I right on that or do I have it backwards? It was a long time ago. Anyways, it was good old Arnie who first used what we now today call the litmus test. I’m not sure if he actually ground some dried lichen into powder and added it to paper or if someone else later on came up with that specific method but I do know he was the first alchemist to recognize the difference between acids and bases and how certain lichens respond to them. Thanks, Mr Villanueva. You have made my high school education that much duller.

The phrase “litmus test” today means so much more than just dipping a special piece of paper into a fluid to help identify it. The phrase is used in politics to determine whether a candidate is “votable” or not. Where she stands on a specific issue is that litmus test on whether a certain individual, or voting block, will vote for her. It is used in marketing. If X happens then this marketing campaign is successful. If not, it wasn’t. It is used in hiring. If “this” is on their resume then we will not offer them an interview. Although the actual litmus test is only a few hundred years old, the idea behind it is as old as time itself.

React: Jesus Himself used a litmus test. If a person desires to do the will of God, they will recognize my teaching as truth. If they do not, then they will not. In other words, we can know where we stand before God by how we respond to Jesus. Do I acknowledge Him as my savior? Does my life reflect the truth that He is my Lord? If so, then I am right before God. If I refuse to acknowledge what Jesus said about Himself, if I am not trying to live my life the way He modeled and taught then I have no standing before God. Jesus is our litmus test. How do we measure up?


Jesus, be the center of my life. You are my everything. You are my all. One day I will stand before God in judgment. Only one question will matter, “What did you do with my Son?” Help me to get that right. No matter what else I might do. No matter what good I accomplish or failures I leave in my wake, I ask that I constantly and consistently refocus my life that You are the center of my life. Everything I say, everything I do, it is all for You.  

9 thoughts on “The Litmus Test

  1. Pingback: The Litmus Test | The Crusty Old Sailor Speaks

  2. Centering our ourselves on Him is truly the only thing we can do in life. If we fail to do this, than it is not really life that we live, but some tragic passing moment in time.

    Amen brother, Lord help us all to focus are all in Him

  3. This is right on, BJ. I think that all too often we stop at acknowledging Jesus as Savior. Then we turn to ‘religion’ to assure ourselves that we are living right. Even the saved need more of Jesus everyday. If we don’t try to see the world through the lens of Him, we will fall into the trap of religiosity every time. If we could all make Jesus and only Jesus the center, we could change the world!

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