Summary: “Many aspire, but few attain.” – Rev. Dr. Paul Fritz
Are You a Thermometer or a Thermostat Christian?
Introduction: Are you a thermometer (circumstantially led) or are you a thermostat (influencer of your surroundings) believer?
Let me explain. A thermometer is circumstantially led. Depending on the temperature, the mercury moves up or down. It moves according to the whether circumstances that it is set in. Everything around a thermometer controls how the thermometer works, whether it moves up or down.
A thermostat influences its surroundings. Unlike the thermometer, the thermostat controls the heat or coldness around it.
What type of believer are you? Do you influence your surroundings? Or, are you influenced by your surroundings?
“Many aspire, but few attain.” – Rev. Dr. Paul Fritz
I would like to suggest that the reason behind many “thermometer Christians” is their own discouragements. All Christians will be discourages, but the Bible gives us answers to these discouragements.
Here are the top 8 discouragements in a Christian’s mind and what God’s Word says about them.
1. I must be loved and accepted by those in my life who are most important to me. I must live up to their expectations.
- This mindset is very dangerous and counter biblical. Although it would be nice for every one of your family members and friends to be happy with your lifestyle, it won’t ever happen. There will always be the ones who look down on you or despise you out of jealousy, envy, and ignorance.
- The Bible tells us in Matt. 5:11-12, “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
- If the important people in your life are not accepting you because of your devotion to God, you are blessed! This might sound crazy, but really it shows that you have a changed heart. You have a changed life. Do not be surprised if you are persecuted and have to suffer. Believers often do not understand why they have to suffer. When they suffer, they are surprised and astonished and wonder why God does not protect them from the suffering and persecution. This is especially true when persecution is fiery and painful. As long as the believer is on the face of this earth, he will be called upon to face fiery trials. Being a genuine believer in a corrupt world is difficult. The world just cannot understand the demands of Christ for self-denial and discipline and in particular Christ’s insistence that they give all they are and have to His cause. So, when a person really begins to live for Christ the world often wants little to do with them. It may be next door, in the office, in school, in the government or in a hundred other places. Why does God allow the believer to suffer persecution? To test, try and prove us.
- Persecution measures our faith. Any person’s faith can be measure by how much they are willing to sacrifice or bear for it. Suffering persecution for Christ shows how strong or weak our faith really is. Persecution proves our faith and attracts others to Christ. When we suffer and are persecuted, others can see the strength of Christ in us. They see that our faith in Christ is a living reality and they are drawn to Christ, to His salvation, love, care and strength. When others see us suffer for the hope of salvation and eternal life, the Holy Spirit uses our suffering to speak to the heats of the persecutors and observers. He convicts them, and some eventually turn to Christ.
- Jesus told His disciples in John 16:33, “I have spoken to you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
2. I must be perfectly competent and successful before I can be happy with myself.
- This is an outlook that usually means you are depending on your own works to in turn make yourself right with God. Nothing we can do will ever make us right with God.
- 2 Corinthians 3:5-6, “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”
- Paul tells us in this verse while writing to the Corinthian church, our adequacy does not come from ourselves. If you are waiting to be happy with yourself until you are successful and competent, it will never come. Every human being is made with a yearning for something more inside. We have a void in our hearts that we can never fill ourselves. Where does this adequacy come from? Paul tells us that it comes from God! Paul also goes on to say how we are now under the covenant of the Spirit, not of the letter (the law, old covenant). We are made right with God by Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit and from that our life will produce pleasing fruit and we will live pleasing to God out of love because He made us right. When you are living under the “letter” or “old covenant,” you are living right to make yourself right with God. We don’t have to do that. Jesus fulfilled the law for us. Live by the Spirit.