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Goodness or Just a Smelly Gas! (08.23.05--Under Pressure!--Romans 15:14)

I’ve always been intrigued by LP gas tanks. I guess that it is that mystery of the unseen and the unanticipated that causes the mystique.

Around Beech Springs we have a number of them. There’s one in my workshop tied to the heater we use in the winter to warm the garage. Then there’s the smaller canister connected to the barbecue. And, finally, there’s the even smaller tube connected to the soldering gun. In each case there’s this mystery substance called LP gas contained under pressure within the tank just waiting to blast out and provide heat and light. Is it a liquid inside of the tank or already a gas? What makes the tank heavier when it is filled? When you shake a full tank you don’t here any sloshing. Yet, since when does a gas weigh so much?

I suppose if I were up on my chemistry or physics I would have had this figured out long ago. Nevertheless, never having had the occasion to investigate it beyond speculation, I will be content to remain mystified and satisfied by what happens when I simply open the valve.

In a way each one of us is like those LP tanks. Sometimes the only way of knowing what is on the inside is to rely on what the evidence indicates when, under pressure, some event or circumstance turns the valve and releases the pressure we so often feel on the inside. Robert Schmidgall writes: “The Scriptures often exhort us to be filled with various godly virtues--which means what? How do we know if we are “full of goodness” (Rom. 15:14), for example?

Think a moment about a water-saturated sponge. If we push down with our finger even slightly, water runs out onto the table. We immediately know what fills the interior pockets of the sponge. The same is true of ourselves. We can tell what fills us on the inside by what comes out under pressure. (Robert Schmidgall.)

LP tanks will always remain somewhat of a mystery to me; unless, of course, someday I decide to investigate the matter more thoroughly. But what is inside of each of us becomes pretty evident and needs little speculation when life’s demands build up and we need to vent those inevitable pressures. When the events of this life press us down there are only two things that can “run out” of us. There is little mystery. If you are filled with the goodness of Christ what we release will be that goodness. If not? Well, perhaps it would be better not to speculate.

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