Are You A Catalyst Or A Sponge?

10/10 at 2:54 am Leave a comment

August, 9 2000

Are you a catalyst or a sponge? Important question, maybe the most important question you’ll be asked in the 90’s [and 2000’s] look at life. The present social setting in America is an indescribable bombardment of stress, anger, violence and perversion our daily dosage of toxic spiritual substances is greater than what prior generations endured in a whole year. We are watching America sink into a vat of emotional extremes. It used to be that our values as a nation were eroding gradually. Now they are being dismantled in wholesale lots.

Let me offer the latest chilling example. In the same week that the Supreme Court expanded its ban on prayer, McDonald’s restaurants released it’s “Happy Meals” Batman toys for its 3 – 6 year old customers. These toys are a tie into the PG-13 movie “Batman Returns” McDonald’s knows that because of the toys 4 year olds will beg their parents to go see the movie. What signal are they sending our children when prayer is deemed dangerous by our highest court because, as they ruled, “It can have a great impact on impressionable young minds.” while we have McDonald’s, a venerated family institution openly influencing our youngest minds 3 – 6 year olds to go see a movie where the penguin character bites off a man’s nose and blood spurts everywhere?

The Christians today must possess a supernatural edge to navigate modern America. The toll on our spiritual bearings will be great if we are not divinely redesigned to handle the noxious fumes of this perverse generation, without an inward dynamic what happened to lot in Sodom can happen to us today. The Bible says Lot’s soul was vexed that vexation was no mere disgust or anger toward the sin around him; it was a grinding assault on his sense of right and wrong. When the perverted men of the city wanted to rape the angels that were sent to rescue Lot and his family, Lot offered to let them abuse his own daughters. His priorities as a father were muddled because he had sponged up some of the poison from Sodom.

In Matthew 24:4 Jesus said “Take heed that no one deceives you.” The [Greek] word for deception is planao, it means to be bent off course. We can be bent by the weight of evil that we must encounter every day.

Examples of this bending effect are rampant. More than ever Christian singles are sleeping around, too many ministries are indulging in stories that are just plain raunchy. The deception is that against the current decadence these actions look like minor peccadilloes when in fact they are disasters in the making. Beyond this, many of God’s people are depressed, despairing and they carry the same open sores of this pagan society.

So, I ask again; are you a sponge or a catalyst? Is this present darkness taking a toll are your emotions, maybe even your sanity? Are you soaking up today’s poisons?

What is the difference between a catalyst and a sponge? A sponge absorbs and a catalyst emits. A sponge takes on the color, odor and flavor of what is going on around it. A catalyst, the dictionary says, is “Any element that changes what surrounds it without itself undergoing a change.”

The most obvious difference between a Christian who is a sponge and one who is a catalyst is that the sponge allows what’s on the outside to seep in and destroy what’s on the inside while the catalystic christian draws on what is within to neutralize the poisons that come from outside. The most radical example I can think of is the Hebrew children coming out of the furnace without even the smell of smoke on them. The Book of John speaks of a fountain. This fountain within is the exclusive property of born-again Christians! Jesus said it will “well up to everlasting life.” These overflows are our retaliations to toxins in our daily living. Catalystic faith says, “Though our outward man perish, our inward man is renewed day by day.”

Let’s look at the miserable life of a sponge. The sponge succumbs to the moods created by the whims of life. They are subject to whatever life may impose on them. Even before disaster strikes, they are already paralyzed by fearful pictures in their imagination. They are continually off balance, never able to get a grip as they bounce from trauma to trauma. Their agenda is set by forces outside them and they react accordingly.

The sponge can’t finish projects, can’t keep promises they make to themselves, the sponge can’t break a habit. The sponge rehearses past hurts, nurses grudges, relives betrayals, soaking in every drop of pain, the sponge acquires all the latest phobias and syndromes. Sponges can even set up their friends to fail them. They live out a scenario of self-fulfilling prophecy. They expect life to be a downward spiral.

Catalysts do not react to their life; they act on it. Circumstances are subjected to a superior life. The catalystic Christian knows that inward victory is the real victory. They not only have an interior fountain, they have internal dynamo. This dynamo is their covenant with God, operating instructions from the Bible and a living relationship with Jesus have been combined and forged into the center of their being. From this center they generate action. Action that changes, diffuses and nullifies the multiple attacks on them. In short, the catalyst doesn’t let satan make the rules, set the agenda or define the meaning of their situation! From the Christ center they act on life and subjugate their problems to a divine perspective.

Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, advised the frazzled leader succinctly, “be to the people Godward.” The catalyst’s Godward bend fuels his victories! Catalysts can go anywhere, anytime, and do whatever needs to be done when it needs to be done, criticism doesn’t cripple them, it launches them. They eat the chicken of life and spit out the bones, past hurts are forgotten! They are closed episodes.

Everyday is a clean slate and success is available from every direction to become a catalystic Christian. You must embrace a truth that is at first painful but soon becomes your best friend. Life cannot hurt you or me without [our] permission. I cannot feel insulted unless I choose to. I cannot be brokenhearted until I have decided something has broken my heart. Any event, pain or feeling that comes at me, regardless of how strong it is, still must get my permission to enter and hurt me.

The catalystic Christian makes building material out of anything that attacks him. Taking complete responsibility for your life and affirming your power to choose means you stop blaming parents, friends, enemies and all of life itself for hurting you. Blaming is the narcotic of the sponge. Believing they have no choice is what permits everything to sop in. Self-pity is a cheap thrill that always destroys.

Do these things to start the life of a catalyst

  1. Life cannot hurt me without my permission. Believe it!
    (Philippians 4:3) Say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” The might of Jesus within the catalyst. He causes me to take captive my every experience and transform it into fuel for victory.
  2. Wear all of the armor of God all of the time.
    The armor will quench fiery darts and stop the poison from entering my spirit. My morals will be guarded because I am in tune with Christ and not bent by degraded modern standards.
  3. I will not react to circumstances, but act on them.
    Creative action will well up out of my spirit to change what’s going on around me. The dynamo and the fountain within me will make things happen!
  4. I will put Christ at the center and redefine my life from that center.
    Instead of jumping from crisis to crisis I will stop and embrace a Godward perspective. I will be moved by a deep strategy and not panic impulses. I will move forward, ever mindful of the heavenly vision and my personal destiny. My every crisis will surrender. In one way or another to the inevitable victory of Christ. A catalyst declares, “The end times are not happening to me… I am happening to the end times!”

Thank you Lord my Jesus,
I love you, Amen

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