Last week my pastor made an interesting statement. He said, “We want to be thermostats, not thermometers. Thermometers are affected by forces outside themselves. Thermostats, on the other hand, change things.”
Hum. He is right, is he not?
Thermometers are regulated by the outside environment: the sun rises higher, the ice pelts the ground, the wind howls louder and the thermometer reacts. We as Christians do not want to be thermometers because if we are our core self is like the sea shifting and changing moment by moment. As James talks about in his book we would be “like the waves of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. . . a double minded man, unstable in all that he does.”
But it is the truth. If you are a thermometer, you are a chameleon, blending into your environment as it changes, compromising yourself, becoming someone you are not just because someone else doesn’t like your values. The thermometer lies just to be liked. The thermometer “dumbs” down his opinion to be considered “tolerant.” The thermometer backtracks what he says in order to be in agreement. The thermometer doesn’t stand up for anything whatsoever because the thermometer is too worried about other outside influences.
The thermostat, on the other hand, cares about the environment surrounding him only because that environment causes the thermostat to change how he operates, but the environment in no way compromises the thermostats core values. The core stays the core. The temp stays the same. The stuff surrounding the thermostat can change, but it can’t influence, it can’t dictate, it can’t compromise the thermostat. The thermostat hangs on to his values and no outside influence can take it away.
Jesus says a very interesting thing in John 16:33. He says, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
Jesus tells His disciples they will have peace in Him, but in the same breath He also tells them they will have tribulation. How can you have peace and yet have tribulation? The two are rather contradictory, don’t you think? But that contradiction is the secret of the believer. Even though trouble comes, death occurs, bad things happen, the believer can have peace. The believer’s inner core is not affected by the trouble because we know the truth – all this pain is only temporary. We have the hope of Him and the promise of Heaven.
That is why Stephen could be stoned to death and still have peace (Acts 7). That is why after being beaten with rods Paul and Silas could still sing hymns (Acts 16). That is why we can still believe when trouble comes, because Daddy God hasn’t yet commanded the end of the story (Rev. 19). We await an eternal home in Heaven, not built by human hands (2 Cor. 5:1).
And when thermostats maintain their core temp – their peace – thermostates can change the environment around them. Others see and want to be a part. Others hear and want to know. They ask. . .
How can you have endured so much and yet still believe?
Him. His promises. Our hope.
Then the environment around the thermostat will start to be influenced. The onlookers will start to wonder. And slowly, change will come.
The thermostat, you see, shines Him. And when you shine Him, the atmosphere surrounding you begins to be infected with His light.
So this week, I want you to think about being a thermostat. Make sure your core stays strong. If it does, His light will shine.
And the darkness will not overcome it. (John 1)