Be a Thermostat

Read: James 3:13-18

And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (v. 18)

A thermometer and a thermostat are both devices that help us understand and manage temperature. But a thermometer merely shows the temperature of the area and rises or falls accordingly, while a thermostat, when properly used, adjusts or regulates the temperature to a comfortable level.

When you step into a difficult situation, are you a thermometer or a thermostat? Do you, like a thermometer, see your emotional temperature rise to match the moment? Or are your actions more in line with a thermostat, attempting to regulate the situation for God’s glory and the benefit of other people? Jesus taught, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9), and James reminded us of the value of sowing peace into the lives of those around us.

But it isn’t easy, is it? Our natural tendency is to be very thermometer-like, with words and actions rising and falling with the surrounding temperature. Fortunately, James reminds us we are not on our own in this: “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere” (v. 17). On our own, we are destined to be thermometers, but with the wisdom from above, we can function as temperature-regulating thermostats. —Bill Rumbaugh

As you pray, ask God for the wisdom to regulate the temperature of the situation around you.

About the Author

Bill Rumbaugh is a retired pastor living in Manchester, Maryland.

This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series Day to Day Advice from James