Profile of a Disciple: Thermostat vs. Thermometer

One thing that you see as you study at what it means to be a Disciple of Christ is that it is pretty much guaranteed that you are going to be moving against the grain of Culture.  Whether it be Jesus telling you go through the Narrow Gate or the Road less traveled OR to be ready to be persecuted, we see that this is something that should be expected.  For us to be different.  To go from darkness into marvelous light, from old self to new, from the old creation to something revitalized.  We need to embrace the fact that we are NOT OF THIS WORLD.

So, why do we still talk and act the same way as we did before Christ?  Or, even worst…why can’t people tell the difference between us and our non-believing friends?

We are missing something.  Because when we are following closely with Christ and walking in His Spirit and Truth…our lives start shining brightly for Him.  Then our lives start OVERFLOWING with the things of Him…

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”

Colossians 2:6-7


“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 15:13

But this Only comes when we have “received Him”, “Live our lives in Him,” “are rooted and built up in him,” “Strengthened in the faith,” “when He is our hope,” “filled with joy & peace,” “have trust in him,” “live in the power of the Holy Spirit.”

If we aren’t truly walking with Christ, reading & applying His word – then the sad truth is we just look like everyone else – a person of the “flesh” or the WORLD.


The difference is being




This concept is adapted from Dr. Tim Elmore’s book Habitudes: Images that form leadership habits and attitudes


People are either THERMOMETERS or THERMOSTATS. They will merely reflect the climate around them, or they will set the climate.  Disciples will look at Christ’s example and teaching and live by them to set the tone for those around them.

Most people are like thermometers.  They tend to reflect the culture around them.  They buy things that others buy, say things that others say, wear things that others wear, and watch or listen to what’s “popular.”  Therefore, MOST people don’t set the “climate” for the world around them or amongst their friends, they just mirror the climate around them.


DISCIPLES though are people who decide to take their lives to the next level.  They become thermostats, and set the climate or lead by example in WHATEVER setting they are in.  Their lives and character are not influenced or subject to world around them.

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

Luke 6:46-49 NIV

This passage comes at the tail end of an amazing Chapter in Luke.  The whole chapter is filled with Christ explaining to his followers & disciples of how they should act and live.  Here are some of the commands:

-love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. (vs. 27-28)

-if someone hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also (v 29)

-Give to everyone who asks of you, and if they take it, don’t take it back (v 30)

-“Treat others the same way you want them to treat you” (v 31) – **NOTICE that this doesn’t say treat them in return of how they treated you…

-do good, love your enemies, lend to people expecting nothing in return (35)

-Don’t judge, do not condemn, pardon people (37).

***and the list goes on, but you get the idea.

And at the end of all these things – Jesus says, those who hear this AND put it into practice are a wise man who’s foundation will not be shaken or effected by the outside forces, temperature, weather, craziness, destruction…

They will be Thermostats – setting the tone for those around them.  Yet it’s all dependent on digging deep and laying a firm foundation on the Rock – aka Jesus Christ – and putting all of the things He taught us into practice.

Notice that all of the other commands in this chapter has us, as DISCIPLES, doing something opposite of what the world around us is doing.  We are setting the temperature and climate, not mirroring the one around us in our circles of friends.

We are called to ACT not to  REACT



CLOSING Questions:

1)   Would you say that right now you are a Thermostat or a Thermometer?

2)   Would you say that you tend to ACT or REACT to situations around you?

3)   What are ways you can change and be a consistent tone-setter in your circle of friends?

4)   What do you think any of this has to do with being a disciple of Christ?


2 responses to “Profile of a Disciple: Thermostat vs. Thermometer

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