Spiritual Temperature

This is the scripture I turned to today. John 12: 23-26 Read with me: “Jesus replied, ‘Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels– a plentiful harvest of new lives. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.” Here are the footnotes for these verses:

“This is a beautiful picture of the necessary sacrifice of Jesus. Unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil, it will not become a blade of wheat producing many more seeds. Jesus had to die to pay the penalty for our sin, but also to show his power over death. His resurrection proves he has eternal life. Because Jesus is God, Jesus can give this same eternal life to all who believe in him. We must be so committed to living for Christ that we should ‘care nothing’ for our lives by comparison. This does not mean that we long to die or that we are careless or destructive with the life God has given, but that we are willing to die if doing so will glorify Christ. We must disown the tyrannical rule of our own self-centeredness. By laying aside our striving for advantage, security, and pleasure, we can serve God lovingly and freely. Releasing control of our lives and transferring control to Christ bring eternal life and genuine joy. Many believed that Jesus came fro the Jews only. But when Jesus said, ‘Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me,’ he was talking to these Greeks as well. No matter who the sincere seekers are, Jesus welcomes them. His message is for EVERYONE. Don’t allow social or racial differences to become barriers to the Good News. Take the Good News to ALL people.”

I am thinking we need an emotional and spiritual check-up to make sure we are healthy in our many differences. And, namely the ones our footnotes have mentioned, social and racial differences. As an RN nurse I understand what a physical check-up means, but do I really understand a spiritual check-up?

40 thoughts on “Spiritual Temperature

  1. Needles, I think God illustrates spiritual principles through His creations in nature. Just as our spiritual temperature is related to growth and productivity, so it is with plants. The spring temperatures here in Leesburg the last few days have been hot! Now for ‘grains of wheat’ like you refer to above, this is good news because seeds need warm soils to grow and be productive. If that grain of wheat falls into cold soils it sure will ‘remain alone’. It will just sit there and do nothing….except maybe eventually rot. But when God turns up the heat, so to speak, and surrounds that seed w/ just the right temperature something happens…its hardened outer layer starts to crack as life begins to stir inside and push, push to come forth. It is a tumultous stage in the life of this plant. Outwardly it appears as if the seed has cracked up….broken, fallen apart…sure to die. And in a way it does die because it has lost all of its former ‘appearances’ and has cast off the outer facade so that new life from within can come forth and grow. And with the right temperatures and watering and Light from above, it grows into a mature plant and produces many, many grains of wheat in its flower head…food for man and animals.
    So, we, like the seed, often cannot cast off or throw aside our hard outer self life until God turns up the temperature through pressures of confrontation, exposure, correction, etc, so we repent, turn from our selfishness and grow to become productive.

  2. “And in a way it does die because it has lost all of its former ‘appearances’ and has cast off the outer facade so that new life from within can come forth and grow”………taken from Debi’s comment above. Debi, with your horticulture background, you sure make it easy to see how that kernel changes with heat. I’m wondering, do you think God has to turn the heat up “a little hotter than usual”, to break the barriers mentioned above?

  3. I think so Needles. When we sit in complacency with our arms folded and eyes and hearts cold we usually don’t move. But if a fire is lit under us, we tend to jump up and pay attention…maybe even run through a few barriers to escape the fire.
    I think Sara wrote about ‘closed minds’ and being hot or cold very effectively in her April 20 blog ‘You are God’s Masterpiece‘.

  4. # 1 I don’t like yearly physical check-ups. Why,? because the scales seem to always tip upward, the BP peek high. Dr.’s orders, lose weight, help BP to come down or take pill. Take pill, still need to exercise, lose weight, watch what you eat, etc. etc. Fancy that, no one pill for the ills of physical life.

    “Don’t allow social or racial differences to become barriers to the Good News.” How does one check-up on themselves for this? First thing comes to my mind is God left us a big scale and thermostat imbedded right down deep inside with the results blasting from our mouths.

    Matthew 12:34 says that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
    Proverb 10:31 “The mouth of the righteous flows with wisdom, But the perverted tongue will be cut out.” Proverbs 17:20 “He who has a crooked mind finds no good, And he who is perverted in his language falls into evil.”

    Actions and Words will tell the health of our emotional and spiritual life!

  5. Debi, aren’t we glad that God will turn up the heat, when it is needed? Proverbs 10:17 says: “People who accept discipline are on the pathway to life, but those who ignore correction will go astray”. I am thankful that God loves me enough, to “turn up the heat”, when necessary. Help me, Lord, to accept discipline, so that I don’t go astray.

    Thanks Sara, for your insight on how we can know the health of our emotional and spiritual life. Lord, help us guard our tongues, and please infiltrate Your spirit, in our lives.

  6. I heard if you feel like a slug and say, my metabolism is in a coma, try drinking a glass of cold water and it will raise your metabolism 30%. Eat protein and whole grains, don’t skip meals and exercise 10 mins. a day.

    Debi uses “confrontation, exposure, correction” for our spiritual and emotional metab. I would add, drink water by the reading of God’s Word and exercise your language by prayer. And, when your correction, exposure, confrontation shows up don’t act-up by defending yourself if you know deep down inside the correction is right.

  7. I might add…. don’t act up by defending yourself if you know deep down inside the correction is not right. Don’t defend. ‘I will repay, expose, make things right, says the Lord.’ In 1Cor. 6:7 and concommitant scriptures, Paul says, ‘why not allow yoursef to suffer a wrong?’ He mentions lawsuits but we can take it a step further in application of our own lives. Why try to defend and justify yourself but rather allow the offense and take it to the Lord. That’s what Jesus did on the cross.

  8. MG, if the correction is not right should one not have a conversation and discuss this? Confrontation was one of the barriers named above. If you know the correction or exposure were not right you would need to speak up, I would think.

    Jesus did this on the cross because He knew this was His Journey. I would think if you knew you were wrong you would not act up trying to defend a wrong but rather work to correct it.

  9. I think the whole book of Esther says speak up when one sees injustice. As queen, Esther was confronted with a wrong to the Jewish people. She with the help of the Jewish people sought God for help, she drew strength from the prayers and spoke up taking the first step and God then acted through the key players at the time to save a nation. If conversation changed a wrong done to a nation why not conversation in regards to exposure of personal wrong or correction.

    If not the case of Esther and you are guilty accept it, change it because the Holy Spirit probably has already told you about it and is confirming it through another person.

  10. As a nurse, I learned in some of my classes that “defense mechanisms” are ineffective ways of coping, with the truth. When one receives a diagnosis of cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc., many times we want to “deny-defense mechanism” that this diagnosis is a FACT. Eventually, the use of these ineffective coping mechanisms will adversely affect our overall health.
    But if we were to accept the diagnosis and proper treatment, then the prognosis has a chance to grow us into health.

  11. Needles, excellent points you have just made. Your comments made me think about a thought Joyce Meyers writes about healing. “Some people believe God wants them to be sick. If that is the case, then I wonder why they go to the doctor and try to get well. If God wants people to be sick, why did Jesus heal people? It is important we know Gods will: otherwise we cannot release our faith to receive it.”

    Therefore, I agree with Needles “denial-defense mechanism” may adversely affect our overall health. “accept the diagnosis and proper treatment, then the prognosis has a chance to grow us into health.”

    Selah, think about this, Jesus cleansed a leper, healed a paralyzed man, a woman with a blood issue, and He opened the eyes of the blind and abundance more. Matthew 9:35 “… curing all kinds of diseases, infirmities and every weakness.”

    James 1:6 “Ask in faith with no doubting, hesitating, or wavering.” In order to do this we need to be certain about what we are asking God to do for us. If we are in denial/self mechanism… physically, emotionally and spiritually I would think we would waver, don’t you. Healing like a seed process often takes time.

  12. Rena, I think Esther is a good example of Debi’s original thought, “God turns up the temperature through pressures of confrontation, exposure, correction, etc, so we repent, turn from our selfishness and grow to become productive.”
    Esther did not want to be where she was asked to be? She sure had to give us selfishness to grow and produce.

  13. Of course if one knows he/she were wrong, good conscience demands repentance, etc. What I was talking about is when there is an inference about some minor thing that you know is not accurate, rather than argue your point, or insisting on defending yourself, it is better to just let it go and give it over to the Lord. I found that this might be especially true when the inference is made by one’s employer, boss, superior, etc.
    It’s just my experience.

  14. infer:to derive as a conclusion from facts or premises
    Is it possible that someone who has observed us and our actions on a daily basis such as a boss, employer or superior, sees something about us that we do not see or do not want to see. Perhaps we do not want to see because it is painfully unhealthy emotionally. Needles talked about defense mechanisms that we use to deny physical illness. Maybe we use these too to deny behavioral or emotional areas in our lives that need healing. Maybe others are trying to help us see things we cannot see because we are in denial of them and/or do not want to face and deal with them. Their perceived ‘inferences’ could be e helpful key to our healing. Just a thought.

  15. My husband and I were discussing this blog. After reading MG’s last comment here, he said, “I know exactly what she is talking about.” He said that when your employer, boss, or superior speaks, even when he/she may be wrong, you are better off to just “let it go”, as MG says, or you might “dig yourself a deeper hole”. He said that “it is not worth getting yourself worked up or angry, because you still have a full days work, ahead of you”. Some scripture references that we talked about, may be a help. They are in the Books of Ephesians and 1Timothy. Read with me:(Ephesians 6: 5-8 KJV) “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men. Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.” In 1 Timothy 2:1-4 NLT, “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.”

  16. Excellent discussion for healthy living… Chris, Needles’ husband, sure makes some great points and with wisdom. I see MG and Chris’ points now when it comes to what I think was termed ‘minor things.’ “Take the comments, corrections and commands from your superior, as God would have us do, and move along and say nothing except to God and continue to do excellent work.”

    If we follow the rules of I Timothy, “… first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them…all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity…” then Debi’s point would come into play. As Christians we have the confidence of The Holy Spirit correcting us again and again until we get it, counseling us, giving us peace and comfort through the wrong or right. At times it seems God uses the ones we wish He would not to correct us. Can’t lose when one follows the Master by obeying His laws.

  17. Perhaps we could learn from Daniel, a slave and prisoner of war, whom maintained his composure and was able to negotiate with his master a settlement so that he could continue to live his strong religious beliefs.

  18. It seems to me that Needles husband’s advice will help us have and maintain a healthy attitude, which is a power player in physical, emotional and spiritual health. I appreciate his insights and comments and those of Sara, Gary and Jay’s…I think they all add up to make a great prescription for health that should keep our spirtual temperature optimum!

  19. “By laying aside our striving for advantage…Don’t allow social or racial differences to become barriers to the Good News. Take the Good News to ALL people.” quote from the blog…

    This part of Needles’ blog gives us as Christians a reason to desire to know when to speak and when not to speak. It sure helps to keep us focused for the real prize. Are we living (taking) the Good news????

  20. I agree with Needles’ husband and Jay’s comment of ‘pick your fights’. In my work place I have seen many times when workers have disagreed with those in authority. We may have all disagreed at one time or another. I have seen it come to very heated words. Emotions are high and the tongue gets totally out of control. The one speaking to their boss in this way goes away with a chip on their shoulder to say nothing of ‘the woe with me’ thoughts. It would have been better to have said nothing and look at yourself first to see if there is anything within you that you did not perceive in the right light. I have found this to be true – wait, pray, listen. Work at changing what needs to be changed within you and serve with a right heart – the heart of God. Thankful to God to be able to serve. Otherwise if words need to be said think through be able to negotiate effectively and calmly.

  21. Rena wrote about a ‘chip on the shoulder’. This chip sounds like bitterness and resentment has lodged and that is not good. We would not be ‘living the Good News’ as Sara commented above by harboring this.
    I re-read “Study with Sara“, March 22, 2008 and thought what she said in this blog addresses the issue and will help us think twice about how we think, react and speak to our superiors or others that we may disagree or have a conflict with.
    Sara wrote (exerpt),”You had a conflict or other circumstance that caused you to resent another. You acted on it with words, deeds or thoughts. A SEED, yes, a tiny seed and it took root and turned into a root of bitterness. It has grown into a big tree and produced many trees just like itself. You understand like “The Terminator.” The “Terminator” feels no pain, has no emotions and will stop at nothing to accomplish its mission.
    “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” In other words watch it that you don’t become a Terminator’ and start producing after your own kind.”

  22. I have a question. If I’m so noble, honorable and spiritual to overcome not speaking inappropriately to my boss or superior, do I have the Biblical right to then tell others about it?

  23. Perhaps if it is a good testimony of having overcome one of the faults that so easily besets us and if it might help another, why not share it at the appropriate time?
    If it has no bearing on the moment, retain it for a time that one can give glory to God

  24. I think you should not tell others what you withheld saying to your boss. Keep it in the tomb and let it die. Don’t spread it around and create an evil gossip mill which will take you down and marks you as a trouble maker. Making yourself appear good and the other not good will have consequences. You infect other people. You cause others to fall with you. The terminator then takes all of you down a path that’s not desirable.

    If you find you need to make a changes in your life and God reveals it through another person, prophet or pastor, and you determine that you are going to walk in a new way of communicating or doing something and all parties benefit then I think you should tell others.

  25. I agree Rena, this would be a very fine line. If I thought my boss, my husband, children, family and friends wrong and never confronted them I would think this would not be much of a testimony to others since the other party has no way to defend themselves. I have been thinking all along if you said nothing and went your way it was to save your emotions and get your work done. Telling it would make me look good and them look ???? Not sure it could help anyone. If you saw another that needed this kind of help all you would need to do is give them the Bible scriptures Chris H. gave. I am sure this would be very hard not to tell and forget about if one was not walking in the Spirit according to Galatians 5.

    I must say there are many lessons here to be learned. Great to have so many different thoughts as all peoples are in someway in relationships with someone in authority over them. I keep going back to Needles first thoughts, ‘don’t allow any barriers to keep you from giving The Good News. And, I would like to add that I personally think ‘attitude’ would make or break you in situations like these.

  26. This morning when I was reading a new study by Beth Moore called “Stepping Up” she says ” We may have relationships with people who don’t highly prioritize interity or who fight dirty, but somewhere along the way we’ve got to quit getting in the mud with them. Part of making our ascent is learning to take the high road. (Sticking with Jesus through all of life.) The process can begin by voicing to God the pain you’ve suffered on the low road.” Then pick yourself up not allowing the mud to stick and as you say Sara ‘change your attitude’, focus on the one who loved us so much He gave his life for us so that we could live free of bondages. Amen! Makes me want to sing, “Onward Christian Soldiers” or “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”.

  27. Oh, yes, amen Beth and Rena, what a waste of our energy to even bother with mud puddle people. It is an evil distraction. They have not integrity and therefore are used by the enemy of our souls to keep us ‘breaking our jaws’ talking about them. They can’t even see the good dirt for the muddy waters. Time to move on. A friend gave me some good advice, ‘stick your Ipod in your ears and sing along with someone you have chosen to sing and play with.”

  28. I am agreeing about the mud. Pigs like mud and return to it over and over so don’t follow them around. II Peter 2:22 says: “A dog will come back to lick up its own vomit. A pig that has been washed will roll in the mud.”
    Back to Sara’s question…”do I have the Biblical right to then tell others about it?” I don’t think so. I think it is defined as gossip and back-biting (To speak spitefully or slanderously about a person).
    “A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends. (Proverbs 16:28)”.
    So, then a pig may clean himself up long enough to speak honorably to a superior, but when he tells others, then he is going right back to wallow in the mud. So was he ever honorable in the first place if he was just bursting to tell someone else? “A good person produces good from the good treasure of his heart, and an evil person produces evil from an evil treasure, because the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.” Luke 6:45

  29. This blog seemly has brought me full circle, like planting and harvesting…

    I see “love your neighbor as yourself.” “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” And, then comes ” Above all love one another because love covers a multitude of sins.” I Peter 4:8

    It is a love that “rejoices not in unrighteousness but rejoices with the truth” (lCo l3:4-6). “…let us not love with word, nor with tongue, but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18).

    I am seeing whatever action I take should carry the banner of LOVE! I know the LOVE that covers sins. I want it to cover mine. And, I would like for others to want their sins covered. “Oh, the blood of Jesus, it washes whiter than snow.

    Therefore, in my minds eye I am seeing I need to work, do and share all things showing love as Jesus taught us to do. I have not obtained yet but working on it. Thanks guys and girls for helping me to see.

    Gary, I agree with you we can learn many great lessons related to this blog from Daniel. I love this quote about Daniel. “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.” It makes me almost shake like a leaf when I think on this.

  30. “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong on behalf of them whose hearts are perfect toward Him.’
    -2 Chron 16:9

  31. Having a healthy spiritual check up is so important. My mother preached a sermon on feeding our spirits. She made a statement “How often do we need to feed our physical body? Our physical body is only here for a short period of time, but we feed it, take care of it, give it anything it desires. Our Spiritual bodies last for eternity. How often do we feed it and take care of it? Which do we cherish the most our physical bodies or spiritual bodies? Where is our hearts? Where is our focus? Do we idolize our physical body or are we preparing our spiritual bodies? Are we feeding our Spiritual bodies or are we feeding our physical bodies allowing our spirit to be our weakness. Satin knows our weakness and he will attack our spirit if it is not healthy. He will attack with pride “chip on shoulder”, gluttony (obesity), suicide, murder, sexual desires (that are not of God), lust……. We need to wake up and take care of strengthen our spiritual body by getting a check-up from our great physician, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. His holy Word will strengthen and heal our spirit.

  32. I agree with Gary (on how to deal with our boss) We definetly need to look at Daniel. I believe God puts different people and situations in our life for a reason. I believe it is a test from God to see how we will handle it. When our boss tells us what to do, in the wrong, are we relying on God or ourself to deal with the situation? Are we praying about it or acting on emotional flesh? Did Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego bow down to King Nebuchadezzar? Were they depending on emotional flesh or the Holy, living God? Daniel 3:16 “O Nebuchadezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. 17If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. 18 But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” These men are just like us. They didn’t have any super powers. They had the same types of feelings and emotions that we have today. This was a dangerous situation that they allowed God to handle. They stepped out of their comfort zone and allowed God to do His will even if it cost them, their physical bodies. They knew their spiritual bodies were healthy and they were willing to meet their Lord face to face. They would not defend themselves before the King. They allowed God to show the King that He was the living God. They didn’t go behind the Kings back and talked bad about him and how he ruled. They were obedient and stepped out in faith. We do not have to defend ourselves with our fleshly mouths. We need to allow God to defend us to our bosses and the entire world.

  33. My husband, came to the computer this evening and pulled up thedailylily. He started reading this blog and after reading Debi’s last comment (about pigs), he turned and looked at me, and said, “Charlotte’s Web”! I didn’t have a clue, what he meant. So after discussing it, we consulted with our friend, Sara. She used her “trusty” computer to help us review some of the details from the story. We found that “Charlotte’s Web is viewed as an “allegory to human life”.

    Charlotte, a caring spider,so desperately wanted to save Wilbur, a shy yet joyous pig, when she learned that he was destined for the slaughterhouse. Charlotte worked diligently to save Wilbur. She wanted the world to know what she had come to know about ‘her friend, the pig, and she weaved: TERRIFIC, RADIANT, HUMBLE, into her web to convince farmer Zuckerman that Wilbur was worth saving. Christ, like the spider, spun a TERRIFIC web of righteousness for our sins, at Calvary. He left a story of HUMILITY and LIGHT, enabling us to be HUMBLE and RADIANT/LIGHT (John 1: 9-13). We can be like Wilbur, the pig, and “wallow in the mud” or we can be like Charlotte, the spider, and be caring, loving, and kind. Templeton, the gluttonous rat, like the world system ultimately was a help, just as our superiors/bosses can be.

  34. Thanks Chris, Needles and Sara for sharing this allegory to help understand human sin and Christ’s committment to save us from it. Interesting that much of the setting for Charlotte’s Web took place in a barn, the very place where Christ came to earth to be born.

  35. Chris Vernon, Thanks, very insightful thoughts, Charlotte, the spider and Wilbur, the pig. Christ Jesus and The Cross.

    Since the 1950’s this book by E. B. White has sold millions of copies. As you indicated Charlotte’s Web is an allegory to human life. The writer deals with the basics of life — birth, friendship, intellect, joy, pain, death, life beyond death. I love how you gave us hope for all the above, even life beyond death, “At Calvary.” I love the Old Hymn “At Calvary”, Mercy there was great, and grace was free; Pardon there was multiplied to me;There my burdened soul found liberty…’At Calvary’. When I act like a pig I will remember Calvary and hope to see a spider’s web woven with “FORGIVEN, SAVED AND FREE” just for me. And, when I meet rats and pigs I hope to spin a web of HOPE just for them.

  36. Oh you are more than welcome, Chris Vernon. There is nothing more exciting than to have your spouse get excited and participate with you and others to help get the gospel/good news to a lost and dying world. I am a blessed woman to have you, as a spouse and I love you.

  37. Even at the end of the much touted allegorical novel, Wilbur, saved by Charlotte’s sacrificing herself, takes the sac of eggs that Charlotte had dposited just before her demise and brings it back to the farm. From this, young ones eventually come forth, thus propagating anew and extending the kingdom of ‘spiderdom’, so to speak. In a way that is allegorical to what happened after Christ ascended into Heaven. The sac of SEED OF Christ’s teachings and THE WORD of God was brought by the disciples and eventually the written Word of the Gospels and propagation of the Faith continues to this day.

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