Wednesday’s Word of the Day: Catalyst (on Saturday)

1 10 2011

(this week’s post is late…sorry for the delay.  Please enjoy!)
Today’s word is catalyst.
The definition is a substance that causes or accelerates change without being changed itself.  In chemistry, for example,  heat is applied to separate molecules that cause them to react to each other, but heat itself does not change.  It just causes change.  The example that often comes to mind for me is in the realm of behavioral sciences.  People often react poorly, in anger, etc., or are treated poorly, are victims of aggression, and while the event happened and will not change, the same people change as a result.

The origin of the word is not very old, but its roots are Greek.  Cata comes from Kata meaning “down”, and lyst comes from lysis meaning “a loosening.”  Therefore, the combination means down loosening.  Going back again to the definition, something that releases or activates potential.

Usually, people make changes in their lives because of some catalystic event.  The change can be positive, such an individual who visits the doctor and learns that he or she has Type 2 diabetes.  Because of the news (the unchanged event), this individual changes his or her diet, begins to exercise, and loses weight.  Overtime, the new diet, exercise, and weight loss become catalysts of ending diabetes in this person’s life.

However, changes can be negative as well.  The examples of this in my own life are numerous and discouraging.  An outburst of angry words toward my spouse over a perceived wrong.  Usually, the outburst is a result of some selfish choices, such staying up too late playing Angry Birds, watching a TV show, or reading various blogs on-line.  The outburst becomes a signal that something else is wrong.

For me, this is where humility is important.  One of my favorite passages from scripture has to deal with recognizing the authority in our lives.  In James 4, there is a passage which speaks of submitting to God.  In it, we are encouraged to draw near to God, and more importantly, He will draw near to us.  Also, the passage commends us to resist the devil, and he will flee from us.

Finally, the passage echoes the first chapter with a description of humility.  “Wash your hands, you sinners, purify your hearts, you double-minded.”   The singular purpose here is the same described in the first chapter of James, to believe and not doubt.  “Grieve, mourn, wail.  Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.”  Regarding our situation, we need understand the truth about ourselves.  We are people in desperate need of lifting up.  As long as we have a high opinion of ourselves and exalt ourselves.  We will never grow into the people that He wants us to be.

Jesus wants us to live a story that He will give us.  In verse 10, we can see that the LORD wants us to humble ourselves in His presence.  Humility means to submit to Him, in all things and in all ways.  It means that we don’t believe we are better or worse than we are.  It means we accept the ways in which we lack, and we accept the wonders of His grace which changes us in to the people he wants.

The catalyst in the life of the believer is the humility that sparks a change.  What ways are you allowing God to exalt you?  Are you too busy protecting your image?  What can you change in your life to submit to Him, seek his ways, and give Him the credit?




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