Archive for February 4th, 2008

Thermometer or Thermostat?

Monday, February 4th, 2008

Today’s scripture: Romans 12:1-2 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (David Zier):

When we look at TV, movies, magazines, and advertisements, the message we get is that the body is something to expose and flaunt. Instead of using our body to praise God, we use our body to praise ourselves.

When I find that I put on a few pounds and don’t look as good in my jeans, I take a step back, assess the situation, then I usually exercise more, and eat better (or eat less). When I read this passage, I realize that I may be doing the right thing by taking care of myself, but the motivation — to look good in my jeans — is not exactly what Paul is talking about here. I don’t think that “what is good and acceptable and perfect” means the image of “me” that I present to everyone else.

I think some of us are thermostats and some of us are thermometers. Here’s what I mean:

As a thermometer, we reflect what is going on in the world around us. The world pursues things and money; so do we. The world become all about “me”, so do we. The world becomes revengeful, violent and aggressive; so do we. The world becomes full of bad language and bad habits; so do we.

As a thermostat, we dare to impact the world for Christ. We dare to do as Christ and make a difference for the Kingdom of God, by showing grace, giving hope, and spreading peace and joy.

Too many of us may be “bi-thermo” — one minute we are on fire for God, the next we have a need to be a part of the world, and be a part of the next hot thing. Enough to drive us nuts and make us look thermo-schizoid! (Many of us are probably trying to balance this out, but maybe not too successfully.)

When we present our body as a living sacrifice, what does that really mean? It is not just the physical, but it is everything about us; it is who we are holistically. Everything about me should be praising God.

This is not easy for me. I can’t do it on my own — but there is more to this passage. Beyond not conforming to this world, we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we can discern the will of God. Whew! That makes me feel so much better!

Paul tells us that as we transform into the disciple that Jesus calls us to be, our minds are transformed, and we become a vessel to do God’s work — to be Jesus to others on this earth!

Thought for the day: Am I reflecting the world by how I live, or am I changing the world because of Christ in me? Thermometer, or thermostat?

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to start, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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