Thursday, September 5, 2002
It was very cold in our house. I was the first one awake that morning, and as I scampered through our personal Arctic I checked the thermometer. It said 50 degrees. I called Mr. Furnace to come. In the meantime, I turned on the kitchen stove, I opened the door, and I sat in front of it to have some personal spiritual time. My kids told me that with my eyes closed it looked like I was praying to the stove! Well, Mr. Furnace came and finally figured it out. See, the problem was the thermostat, not the thermometer - that just reflected the temperature. It was the thermostat, which, of course, controls the temperature!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "How a Thermometer Becomes A Thermostat."
The fact is, you may be a thermometer - or you're a thermostat. Thermometer people tend to reflect the temperature of the people around them. "If you're hot, I'm hot. If you're cool, I'm cool. If you're nice, I'm nice. If you yell, I yell." Thermometer.
What most of us would like to be is a thermostat - someone who controls the temperature in our situation. Your family sure needs for you to be a thermostat; if everyone's a thermometer, it's chaos there. The people you work with, your friends - they need someone who is under control, who doesn't go off with the stress, who's steady and caring and peaceful. Those thermostat people are rare - and valuable.
My friend Mark runs a rapidly growing, highly-pressurized company that services some of America's largest corporations. In the heat of battle one day, one of Mark's execs came in and said, "Man, how do you handle all this pressure?" Well, Mark is like the eye of a hurricane - a center of calm in a swirling storm. Actually, Mark explained his thermostatic peace in one word. "Jesus."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from the words of Jesus Himself in John 14:27. He is talking to His closest friends on the most stressful night of His life, just before His arrest and execution. And it's on the eve of what is about to be the most stressful chapter in their lives. If stressful is a fair description of your life right now, these words from Jesus are for you, too. Here's what He says. "Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
I'm sure I don't have to make a list of the uncertainties in our world that could make any of our hearts "troubled" or "afraid" right now. And you probably have a pretty impressive list of your own. But in the midst of combat conditions, Jesus says, "I give you My peace - like nothing, like no one on earth can give you." A love-relationship with the Son of God is the secret of my friend Mark's peace under pressure. It's a peace that I have experienced over and over again - from hospital rooms, to gravesides, to doctor's offices, to airplanes in trouble, to out-of-control weeks. The anchor is that relationship with Jesus Christ.
And when you know you belong to Him, you can be a thermostat instead of a thermometer because you know you have an identity and a security that is rooted in something that you can't lose. The freedom of knowing that whatever's at stake in this situation isn't all there is - you're anchored to Jesus Christ, His unloseable love, and His unstoppable plans.
It's the relationship you were made for, that you've been missing because your sin has cut you off from your Creator. It's the relationship that Jesus died to give you by paying for your sin on His cross. If you're ready to let Jesus bring peace to that storm inside you, tell Him you are trusting Him to be your Savior from your sin. And I'd like to send you the booklet I wrote about beginning this relationship called "Yours For Life." I will if you'll call or write and tell me you want it.
Jesus makes a thermometer person into a thermostat - who has His inner power to set a whole new temperature. And He's waiting for your invitation.