The past few days, although unbearably hot, have really begun to sing to my heart! It is a sure-tell sign that summer is right around the corner. Some of my fondest childhood memories are spawned out of summer vacations away from the hustle and bustle of the usual school week routine. I remember sun-drenched days as cars whizzed by with tops down, and speakers up, blaring DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince's hit song, "Summertime". I enjoyed summer nights just the same as flash light tag drew all the neighborhood kids out of their homes and into the damp, freshly cut lawns where blades of grass tickled the bottoms of bare feet. I would often remember to bring an empty glass jar with holes punched out in the aluminum lid so that I could catch fireflies that whizzed around us, lighting up the night sky.
As a teenager, I remember accepting truth or dare challenges, trying to prove myself the fearless warrior that my heart denied. On one occasion, I was "double-dog dared" to jump the fence into the community pool just outside of Cherry Tree Farms. I chose to face my fear and before my knees just about buckled and locked into a stationary position, I squatted down, hyperextended my legs so that it met my body in a 90 degree angle, and dove into the 8 foot deep waters dancing below me. I remember an unusually cool breeze blow through my scalp as it pierced through the surface level of the water, followed by my mouth, gasping for air. My teeth started to chatter and my body echoed as I shivered profusely for about one minute. I then grapped on to the concrete edge of the pool and attempted to pull myself out of it. However, as my shoulders touched the crisp air, I let go and sank back into the deep blue. In that brief span of time, my body grew comfortable in its surroundings.
Scientifically speaking, this occurence happens all the time in each and every one of us. It is referred to as homeostasis. I recently instructed a biology class in which I required my students to research the meaning of this term. Holt's Biology textbook defines it as "the maintenance of stable internal conditions in spite of changes in the external environment." The example the text book provides illustrates the conditions in which harp seals live in and around the Arctic Ocean. Due to homeostasis, their bodies are able to withstand extreme weather conditions because it regulates heat internally. In some occasions, if the animal is unable to adjust to its environment, they will become ill and/or die.
The more I study science, the more I find God's work to be remarkable! I can only imagine how much thought went into contemplating every minor detail concerning His creation. God loved us and wanted us to prosper so much so that He sent His only begotten Son, not only to die for our sins, but to be the example through which we might live! [Reference 1 John 4:9] Contrary to what many people believe, when we as Christians accept the gift of salvation, that doesn't mean that trials, tests, and tribulations go away. In fact, the opposite often occurs. We will be met with some of the most difficult decisions and trials that we have ever faced in our lifetimes up until that point. However, God has given us a compass through which we will be able to navigate through these storms. That, my friends, is His word. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 states, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." This scripture reveals to us that God's word is a vital part of our very existence. Through it, we may be "complete" and "thoroughly equipped". In other words, if we read and accept His word, we are unshakable! The Greek translation for "inspiration of God" is theopneustos, meaning "God-breathed". Remember, just as He breathed life into Adam, He has also breathed His Word into existence. That is why we refer to it as the living word because it is the way in which God speaks to us daily. As it did centuries ago, it still applies to us today.
After we have accepted His word and written it on our hearts, the true test remains. Whether or not we falter or fall under the weight of pressure all depends on our obedience to Him. If we apply every morsel of truth to our daily living and we stand in the posture of Christ, embracing the same humility He faced through all of His trials, and loving one another the way that Christ loves us, then we are sure to produce good fruit in our lives. Galatians 5:22-23 lists the fruit of the Spirit as "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." I think of the fruit of the Spirit as the spiritual definition for homeostasis. If we are fully abiding in Christ, we can expect inner peace and joy even when the external factors seem daunting. We are capable of adjusting readily because of the stable internal conditions God has manifested in us.
As I explained in the example earlier, my body's initial reaction to jumping into the pool was shock. However, as my internal components started to function as they should, I was finally able to adjust to the external factors. Our lives are no different. Walking with Christ is not always like walking into a room full of roses. We may be initially shocked when we face tragedy or turmoil in our lives. This is a natural, human reaction. However, it is in how we plan to move on from there that matters. He has equipped us with His Word. He has given us a perfect representation of good through which we should emulate daily. The more we put on the persona of Christ, the more we become like Him. As a result, we will witness a transformation in our spiritual make-up. We will be able to practice peace, joy, patience, kindness and self-control even when we can't pay the rent, find a job, or are going through a difficult break-up. These external factors do not make or break you. It is the spiritual fruit that you are perpetually producing as you serve Christ that will determine how you rise above your circumstances.
Rest assured that you are pliable in God's hands. Your flesh may be torn apart when you are under fire, however, His Spirit remains constant within you. "By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit." (1 John 4:13) Walk boldly knowing that regardless of the curve balls life throws at you, you shall not fear or even flinch for the Lord is not only with you but in you. "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." (1 John 4:4)
Until next time, be encouraged readers!