Christians - Thermometers Or Thermostats
By Charles Capps
There is an event recorded in John 5:2-8 that reminds me of myself many years ago when I majored on problems instead of answers.
When Jesus asked the impotent man at the pool of Bethesda, “Wilt thou be made whole?” the man told him the reason he could not be made whole. Jesus ignored the man’s reasoning and commanded him to “...Rise...and walk.”
Even though God’s Word can change situations in your life, so many seem to be set on talking the problem. You will notice that Jesus didn’t mention the problem, but He asked the crippled man to do something he couldn’t do within himself. When the man obeyed, he received his miracle.
I have come to the conclusion that there are two kinds of Christians. There are Christians who act like thermometers. They rehearse the problem over and over, but never do anything to change it. Then there are some who function as thermostats and change things for the better. The thermostat on the wall of your home is wired to the heart of that unit which is designed to control the temperature in your house. That thermostat has a built-in thermometer to reveal the present condition (temperature) and a dial to make the desired change. When you change the dial setting, it makes a demand on the heating and cooling unit. The thermometer only tells you how it is at the present time. But by setting the thermostat to what you desire, you can change present facts.
God never intended for us to become Thermometer Christians and keep rehearsing things as they are. Even though it is a fact – if it’s not lovely and of a good report – don’t spend your time talking about it. Faith cometh by hearing. Always give preeminence to the Word of God regardless of the present facts or circumstances. “...faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
Bible faith comes from the Bible, and it is evidence of the things that are not yet manifest in the natural realm. But what some people call faith is not Bible faith at all. Its high expectations based on wrong information.
You may have heard someone interpret Mark 11:23 as: saying it. You must believe and doubt not in your heart. Then you must believe that those things you are saying will come t o pass. Faith is not just a quick fix for your problems.
Sometimes it takes weeks or even months to get your mind renewed to God’s Word and to get rid of years of unbelief.
Yes, Jesus did say, “...he shall have whatsoever he saith...” That statement is in the Bible. But we must take it in context of which it was spoken. “For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.” (Mark 11:23)
Notice Jesus said, “...whosoever shall... not doubt in his heart, but shall believe...” This implies that you must also believe in your heart, because faith works in the heart, not the head. The whosoever Jesus referred to in this Scripture said with his mouth what he already believed in his heart. And Jesus said, “...he shall have whatsoever he saith.” Notice that he didn’t have it when he said it, but he called it in faith that he would have it.
The problem is that some people have high expectations based on what happened when someone else was operating in faith. Without faith in the heart, they are thermometers trying to get the results of a thermostat. There is no faith connection between the words of their mouth and their heart which is designed to produce the results. (Matthew 12:35)
Some people have high expectations based on what happened to someone else.
Someone who hears a testimony such as: “I gave my car to a missionary, and someone gave me a new one,” may get excited and say, “Glory to God, I’m going to give my car away.” If they do that based on the experience of others, they are probably going to walk for several months. Sometimes people are motivated by the experience of others and greed rather than the desire to help someone in need. Bible faith is based on God’s Word, not what happened to someone else.
High expectations based on wrong information will fail to produce desired results. True Bible faith in the heart will always produce what the Word promises.
Some people say, “Well, if they can do a certain thing I can do it, too.” That statement is often based on wrong information. If you saw a pilot of a 747 get out of the cockpit, would you say – “If he can fly that airplane, I can too?” That would be wrong thinking even though you possibly could fly that plane after several years of training.
Are you fully persuaded?
You have probably heard someone say: “If God did a miracle for them, He will do it for me.”
But my questions are, “Does he know what that particular person knew? Is he fully persuaded from God’s Word? Is his faith based on the promise of God or someone else’s miracle?”
Yes, it’s true that God’s Word has the ability resident in it to cause the promise to come to pass in your life. But first, there must be a time of renewing the mind and confessing God’s Word until you become fully persuaded that He will perform His Word. There must be a time of gaining information and understanding the principles involved. Then you can make a demand on the promises of God and get the desired results.
A thermometer will always tell you how it is at a particular instant. Yet, it changes with every breeze that blows. But it gives no information as to how to change what is already present.
A thermostat has two functions. It has a built-in thermometer to reveal the problem for reference only. The thermostat is connected to the heart of the unit which is designed to change the present condition. When the dial is set to the desired results, it makes a demand on the unit which produces exactly what the thermostat calls for. A thermostat doesn’t deny what exists at the present, but rather concentrates on changing it.
A thermostat doesn't deny what exists but concentrates on changing it.
When it comes to faith, your head is basically a goalsetter. Your head determines what you say. Then what you say with your mouth determines what you believe in your heart. (Romans 10:8, 17) What you hear produces faith either in the problem or the answer.
The Apostle Paul said, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” (Ephesians 4:29)
You and God hear everything you say. So we shouldn’t spend our time talking the problem. To change the things which exist, we must set the goalsetter (the thermostat) to a different setting. The words you speak are the determining factor of what you believe. And they are setting the thermostat of your life daily.
You may ask: “What must I do concerning my situation?” First, go to God’s Word and find what God said about your situation. Paul gives us some good Scriptural advice in Romans 12:2: “...be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
You adjust your thermostat by the words you speak in agreement with God’s Word. Then you will see your situation the way God sees it. The faith that comes from God’s Word will cause you to see through the problems of life. You can then concentrate on the end results rather than the problems. God’s Word confirms this truth: “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” (Joshua 1:8)
The words you speak are a determining factor of what you believe.
Meditate means to mutter and speak to oneself. You are to study, meditate, and speak the Word of God to yourself, that you may observe (perceive) to do all that is written therein. Then you will make your way prosperous, and you shall have good success.
There are some who say: “I just can’t see this faith business, or I can’t see this healing business.” There’s no need for them to be concerned; they won’t be bothered with it. They must first see it on the inside before it is manifest outwardly.
If they dare to put God’s thermometer (how God says it) in their mouth, they will get a different reading. You do that by giving voice to the things of God rather than circumstances that exist at the present. The following verses reveal God’s insight: “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” (I Peter 2:24) “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” (Colossians 1:13)
“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness...” (II Peter 1:3) “He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them...” (Psalm 107:20) “...all things are possible to him that believeth.” (Mark 9:23) “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Matthew 21:22)
I challenge you to make a decision to be a Thermostat Christian and change the things in your life that are not in agreement with the Word of God. Exercise your authority by turning your attention from what has happened to what will happen, because of your faith in the promises of God. Whatever happens to you in life doesn’t change God’s Word, but if you will keep God’s Word in your mouth, you will eventually change what happens to you in life.
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