Thermostat? Or Thermometer?


She was so incredibly rude!
I made a simple, easy request.
Of a perfect stranger.
In a place where serving people is what they exist to do.
I asked for a piece of paper and a pen.
As she sat at a massive desk.
Doing paperwork.
And she acted as though I had asked her to give me one of her appendages or perhaps a kidney.
As well as treating me like I was lower than the dust mites dwelling in the carpet.

Thermostat or thermometer?

I can’t believe my friend posted that on social media!
That goes against everything I believe to be true.
I thought I knew her.
And I thought we were much closer to being on the same page.
I am disgusted, disappointed, outraged.
I am saddened.
And I am insulted.
She just lumped me in with an entire group of people with a few scathing words and a picture.
And I am officially offended.

Thermostat or thermometer?

I have a deadline.
And a to-do list that won’t quit.
Things to do.
People to see.
Projects to complete.
Things I have to get done.
And I get interrupted.
Someone needs a listening ear.
Or the answer that I already gave a week ago.

Thermostat or thermometer?

A left-handed compliment.
An unasked, negative critique of what I am wearing.
A joke at my expense that hits too close to home.
A lousy driver.
Another interruption.
An illness.
A person who lets me down – again.

The daily stuff of life – the stuff that comes from living in a fallen, sinful world.
It happens.
And I get to choose.
Will I be a thermometer? Or a thermostat?

A thermometer registers the current temperature.
A thermostat sets the temperature and regulates it.

The current temperature of my corner of my world is largely out of my control.
I cannot control what you write on Facebook.
I cannot control how you think, feel or believe.
I cannot control what you say or how you choose to say it.
I cannot control your political views.
I cannot control how you drive.
I cannot control when the phone will ring or when I will be interrupted.
I cannot control which illnesses will attack my body and win.
And I cannot control whether or not you will be pleasant when I ask you for a piece of paper.

The general temperature of my life is beyond my control.

If I choose to be a thermometer, I will register that fact – the temperature beyond my control – in all I do and say.
I will let loose the words the spring to mind.
I will react instead of respond.
I will allow my circumstances to determine my emotions.
I will love me more than I love you.

But if I choose to be a thermostat, I will not allow the temperature to control me.
I will “take every thought captive to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10)
I will “let everyone see that I am considerate in all I do” because I choose to “remember, the Lord is coming soon.” (Philippians 4)
I will be “be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven me.” (Ephesians 4)
I will “bless those who curse me” and “pray for those who hurt me.” (Luke 6)
I will “give thanks in all circumstances.” (I Thessalonians 5)
And I will “speak the Truth in love”, letting “everything I say be good and helpful, so that my words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” (Ephesians 4)

Impossible on my own.
Left to my own devices, I am a thermometer!
But because I have been redeemed, bought at an exceedingly high price by the blood of Jesus, chosen by God and am dearly loved, I can be a thermostat.
Because I have the Holy Spirit inside of me, giving me all I need for life and godliness, I can respond to the temperature rather than simply reacting to it.

And not only that, I can help to change the temperature.
When I choose to be a thermostat.
Not in an instant.
And not in my own power.
But through prayer, through finding wisdom in the Word of God, by asking God what HE thinks about whatever it is that is happening to me or around me, I can be an influence for the Kingdom. A regulator of temperature. Or as Jesus put it, salt in a dying, decaying world and light in a very dark place. Sometimes in an instant, like how I choose to respond on social media. And sometimes over the long haul, like when I choose to pray for the leaders above me, whether I like them or not. Thermometers have no power to bring change to the environment. They just report what is. Thermostats set the environment and change what is.

A daily choice. A heartbeat to heartbeat choice.
Emotions rule? Or God rules?
Circumstances lead? Or God leads?
My word? Or His Word?
Reacting from my sinful self? Or responding in the Spirit?

Thermostat? Or thermometer?

2 thoughts on “Thermostat? Or Thermometer?

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