212 Degrees
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Image © Providence Collection from GoodSalt.com

This concept is part of a big motivational campaign. If you work in education you’ve probably seen the movie and all the merchandise. I hear it’s very big in the corporate world as well. But, in case you haven’t heard it, here it is as explained by the guy who wrote the book and is now making a bundle on merchandising:

“At 211 degrees, water is hot.
At 212 degrees, it boils.
And with boiling water, comes steam.
And with steam, you can power a train.
“One degree. Applying one extra degree of temperature to water means the difference between something that is simply very hot and something that generates enough force to power a machine – a beautifully uncomplicated metaphor that ideally should feed our every endeavor – consistently pushing us to make the extra effort in every task, action and effort we undertake. Two-twelve serves as a forceful drill sergeant with its motivating and focused message while adhering to a scientific law – a natural law. It reminds us that seemingly small things can make tremendous differences.”1

I don’t know about you, but the first time I heard the presentation of this concept, I had a real “duh” moment. It was like I knew it, but I never really thought about the science of it and the difference between boiling and not boiling. 211 degrees is a hot bowl of soup, but 212 degrees is real power!

So as I read through all this stuff, I noticed something very important—the difference between just hot and boiling comes from within each individual. Hmm… Anybody see a problem? Yeah, me too.

A person with a really good idea suddenly dives off in the wrong direction. You and I both know that the final degree does not reside in any of us. We will forever be bowls of soup—good, but innocuous. That 212th degree can only come from one place—the Holy Spirit.

When we look at the intensity of the disciples, we can see the moment they crossed the line. In the upper room, at Pentecost, the disciples became Spirit-driven. The power spilled out of them just like steam out of a locomotive. From that moment on, the people who were filled with the spirit had one goal—to tell people about Jesus.

Can you imagine what it would be like to be consumed with preaching the truth about Jesus wherever we go? You wouldn’t worry if it made some people uncomfortable, or even angry. You’d tell anybody who would listen that Jesus loved them and died to pay the penalty for sin. Nothing else would matter.

So, where are all the 212-degree Christians today? Are you a 212-degree Christian? Am I? How would we know? What does a 212-degree Christian look like? Can you tell just by looking?

“The same intensity of desire to save sinners that marked the life of the Saviour marks the life of His true follower.” (E.G. White, Testimonies, Vol. 7, p. 10. (1902))

It looks so easy on paper, doesn’t it? But in practice it’s not so simple. Maybe it’s just me, but it’s even a little bit scary. It conjures up some disturbing images. Think about it. What happened to all those folk who lived with that kind of intensity and focus? Not many of them lived to be old. None of them lived safe, comfortable lives. That’s hard to think about, isn’t it?

And that’s one of the main differences between the secular way of thinking about 212 and the Christian’s way of thinking about it. Secularly, when you add the extra effort, your life just gets better and better. But for a Christian, accepting the mission of telling as many people as possible the truth about Jesus can be an uncomfortable, even dangerous, proposition. It takes the analogy of steam quite literally. Hot water can be comforting and soothing, but when it begins to boil, it not only becomes powerful, it becomes dangerous.

“Jesus replied, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? “Father, save me from this hour”? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!’ … But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.’” John 12:23-28, 32.

  1. Samuel L. Parker, 212: The Extra Degree, WalkTheTalk.com
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212 Degrees — 9 Comments

  1. Those who wonder how great an impact one person's life can make on the world when empowered by the Holy Spirit need look no further than to the life of Jesus Christ. In a ministry spanning three short years and limited to no greater area than that which could be covered on foot within that same amount of time, Jesus carried a message of self-sacrificing love whose influence continues to this day. Even the reckoning of calendar years from the time of the ancient world to the common era turns on the approximate year of His birth. Through His atoning sacrifice, Jesus forever altered the course of mankind by opening the only possible path of reconciliation with God. In His perfect example, He demonstrated the potential within each sinner to overcome sin as He first overcame. When, through human willingness, the sinner accepts divine power, the promise of eternal life is made manifest, first through the death of the carnal self made possible by the faith of Jesus, next through the development and growth of the new creation wrought by the indwellling of the Holy Spirit, and finally when the righteous are enabled to stand fully exposed in the presence of God, unashamed.

    Jesus Christ only needed three years to accomplish His work. How much time have each of us wasted in selfishly focusing on things of this world? In John 14:12 Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” Power beyond all human imagining is contained in the words of this promise. God calls on each of us to claim this promise and give Him the opportunity to throw open the floodgates of Heaven, pouring out His Spirit upon His people, enabling them to finish His work. Are you ready for this glorious event? The time of preparation is now. The small spiritual battles that we face daily are steadily and surely preparing us for larger things to come. "Give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall." 2 Peter 1:10. Ready yourself so that one day in the near future, God will stand before you, saying, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:21.

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  2. The amount of heat (energy) required to raise 1 cc or gram of water 1 degree Celsius is 1 calorie. Therefore 100 calories of heat will raise 1 cc of water to 100 degrees C. However to make steam, it requires 540 calories of heat to boil 1 cc of 100 degree C water (212 Degrees F). Also to melt ice requires 80 calories of heat to melt 1 gram of ice to water. Just heating the "water" requires much less energy than changing its state. To thaw or to make steam (more powerful) requires much more energy. There are similarities also in the conversion of a soul (changing state).

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  3. Do we really think that we can come up with the first 211 degrees and that God only has to 'kick in' at the last moment? We need the Holy Spirit for all of them!

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  4. I never look'd at it that way, The same energy I put into my job,or visiting should be applied to witnessing. I know I can find energy for an event, out of town guess. I need my pattern of thinking. This is me I'm sure no one else does these things...LOL

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  5. The amount of energy needed to thaw ice is equivalent to raising the same amount of water to 80 degrees. But to go from water to steam, the energy required to go from 100 degrees to steam, would raise more than 5 times as much water from 0 degrees to 100 degrees. That is where the Holy Spirit comes in to supply our needs. The work of conversion is God's work.

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  6. Acts 2:47 says, And the Lord added to the Church daily such as should be saved. Acts 2:17 says, and it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, I will pour out my SPIRT up on all flesh: This is the best part, Acts 2:21 AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS,THAT WHOSOEVER SHALL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE SAVED. HE IS JESUS THE CHRIST. Thats the 212 point to those that believe.

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