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Be a Thermostat
Photo: Linda DuBose
Recently, I heard a speaker say that there are two types of people: thermometers and thermostats. Thermometers reflect the temperature of their surroundings, and thermostats set the temperature of their surroundings.

Well, I guess that’s true enough. Not exactly a new concept, but one to think about, especially in terms of spiritual temperature. Speaking for myself, I’ve been both. I’ve gone along with the temperature set by others around me, and I’ve also been the one to set the temperature. Both are okay in the right circumstances, but in personal choices, for the most part, it seems to me that it’s far better to be a thermostat. That is, as long as our power source is the Holy Spirit.

Too often, we become comfortable with the temperature set by the world around us. Usually, that temperature comes in the comfy, cozy range where we’re neither too hot, nor too cold. Where we don’t have to get up and get busy in order to keep from getting too cold, and we don’t have to cool it in order to avoid a meltdown. Just nice and, well, lukewarm.


Uh-oh. Lukewarm. To Christians, that’s a red flag word. That’s the word Jesus used in describing the people who were neither for him, nor against him. That’s the word that he used when he said he would spit them out of his mouth because lukewarmness is disgusting to him. (Revelation 3:16).

That’s why it’s best to be a thermostat. A thermostat that is plugged into the Holy Spirit is powered by just the right amounts of hot and cold. When God is calling us to move forward in personal faith or in a ministry, the thermostat sets the temperature to high. If God is calling us to stay cool and trust him even in times of persecution, the Spirit-powered thermostat sets the temperature on cool. It keeps us awake and on our toes.

The Bible is full of examples of thermostats like Moses, Joseph, Esther, Joshua, Job, the disciples and, of course, Jesus. Circumstances were not always good, and they had many hots and colds to be sure. But they were never lukewarm. They set the temperature of their own surroundings by allowing the Holy Spirit to operate the dial.

In a spiritually apathetic world, let’s be careful not to merely be thermometers, reflecting the lukewarm coziness of irresolution. Rather, let’s make contact with the Power Source and set the temperature for our spiritual identity. Be a thermostat.

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Gwen Simmons. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. 

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