A Little Understanding – The Insulation (cont.)
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 (NIV)
In a house the temperatures compete for control.
In our spiritual life our knowledge/understanding compete with our emotional experience of God as if one must win out while the other is deemed unneeded. For some being hot or cold appears to have served them well, while others jump from hot to cold to hot and so on, looking for a sense of fulfillment. Serving yourself well or constantly pursuing a personal sense of fulfillment is not the goal of a life committed to following Jesus. Just as a stable/balanced temperature in your home is much easier to live with, a stable/balanced temperature in your spiritual life is the only way to be transformed.
Metaphors and more metaphors, it is the style of this [post].
What is the metaphor for insulation, the thing that keeps the inside temperature stable? One thing I think we can agree on, it isn’t the constant adjusting of the thermostat to make us feel warmer or cooler because we want to be warmer or cooler…. No matter where you live you will require some sort of temperature increasing and/or decreasing device. Most of us look at these devices as ways to heat or cool the house, which technically is accurate. Because I want to get the most out of my insulation metaphor, I ask you to think of your air conditioner and furnace differently. Rather than considering these devices as sources of hot and cold, let’s look at them as temperature balancing instruments that maintain stability in the home. Insulation traps what is produced by these temperature balancing instruments while it blocks the unwanted outside heat or cold from effecting the inside ensuring balance.
In our spiritual lives it is no different.
We need something to trap the desired temperature while protecting us from the undesired temperature fluctuations. There are plenty of sources in life that produce hot or cold temperatures (remember for this illustration neither one is more desirable than the other). Unlike the way a house is cooled by one system and heated by another, the Christ follower and the collective of Christ followers can be heated or cooled by the same things in their lives.
Reading the Bible, praying, enjoying inspiring Christian literature, worshiping in song and so many other activities can activate our temperature creation and heat us up with emotion or cool us down with the vastness of God. We can be warmed by our feelings of God’s love and cooled by our realization of our incredible inadequacy. The fact that the history contained in the Bible is being unearthed in the Middle East can bring a very logical confirmation that God’s word is real or an overwhelming sense of the presence of the creator of the universe. The hopelessness outside can find a way to make us cold and yet the outpouring of help in times of disaster warms us.
It is too easy to get caught up in how we are feeling.
I feel cold or I feel hot is not the way we want to be in our house or in our spiritual life. At the same time, ignoring the existence of feelings or their purpose is just as harmful to us. If the individual does not respond to the message received about their body temperature, they will most likely suffer the effects of extreme temperature exposure like hypothermia or heat stroke. If the Christ follower and the collective of Christ followers do not respond to the imbalance of temperature in their lives or in their church, they too will experience the effects of extreme temperature exposure in their spiritual life. An emotion based faith system leads to spiritual heat exhaustion from pursuing the next high. A logic based faith system leads to hypothermia as the pursuit of cold hard facts numbs us to the signs and wonders of a loving God that cannot be explained.
“…by the renewing of your mind…” Romans 12:2
So what can we do? What can a church do?
How can we ensure we don’t freeze or boil or drastically swing from one temperature to another? I said it before – insulation. What is the insulation of a Christ follower and the collective of Christ followers? Renewing of your mind. We are not to live attempting to prove His existence with science and logic or experience His existence with signs and wonders. We are on this planet to be transformed by seeking to understand as much as possible about our creator and His purpose for us.
Our minds are to be focused on Him and Him alone. The encounters we have with God and the things we uncover about God will change us but they will not transform us. We will feel warming or cooling effects but what does that mean?
For some it means pump in the opposite air temperature, for others it means give me more of the same. Our minds will often tell us that something is good or bad for us but it is God who knows what true balance really is. We can keep changing to feed our mind’s desire or we can renew our mind with the desires that God has for us. Transformation comes when our minds are focused on God and therefore what we do and how we think is only influenced by Him, not the changing temperatures of our faith.
God, not us, must be placed in the centre of how our minds work or we will not be insulated from the whims and fads of Christ followers and Christ deniers alike.
Stay tuned A Little Understanding – Climate Protection (Part 6) will be posted end of August 2019.
From time to time my blog will include abridged excerpts from my book “Blueprint.” Like any author/blogger, I find it difficult to leave the words I have written in my computer until a publisher can be found. Maybe it’s because someone somewhere needs to read these words now.
For more excerpts and quotes from my book Blueprint find the heading “Categories” on the right side of this page and click on “Blueprint (my book)”