Thermostat or Thermometer

Luke 1:26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth.

It’s interesting how some cities are known for certain things. Rome is called the Eternal City. Paris is called the City of Lights. New York is the City that Never Sleeps. And Amsterdam is known, among other things, for its ‘Red Light’ district.

Nazareth had a reputation like that of Amsterdam. There was a Roman garrison there, it was an ‘Army’ town. Nazareth was known for its bars and brothels. This is why, when Nathanael heard that Jesus was from Nazareth, he asked, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46).

Imagine if Jesus were born today. We might expect Him to be born in Jerusalem, Rome, London, or Paris. But if He were born today it would likely be in a city like Amsterdam. The Savior has arrived: Jesus of Amsterdam. That’s what it was like to hear ‘Jesus of Nazareth’.

But in that city there was a young woman of royal blood. Living in an impure place, Mary was pure. She showed it’s possible to live a holy life in an unholy place. We often blame the culture for the sad state of affairs today, but the fact is that it’s our job as followers of Jesus to permeate and affect our culture.

Here’s a question: Are you a thermometer or a thermostat? A thermometer is affected by its surroundings. It goes up or down depending on the temperature. In contrast, a thermostat affects its surroundings. It controls the environment.

Do you shift with the changing tides of public opinion or do you affect them? Are you changing the culture, or is the culture changing you?


David Ball

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