PHYSICAL VS. CHEMICAL CHANGES
This past week in Sunday School my co-teacher, who is also my mother, shared her experience becoming a Christian. She joked, “You know there’s always a difference between the person who really chooses to follow God and the one who just joins along because everyone else is doing it.” It brought forth the question to me, can someone really claim to follow God if they’re just copying their friends or just joining the bandwagon of followers?
Today in my Science methods class I learned about Physical and Chemical reactions. We did things like mix copper sulfate with water and then watched what happened to a piece of steel wool. It had been a while since I took a Science class so I, as always, asked a million questions.
How do I know a chemical reaction is happening?
What’s the difference between a physical and chemical reaction?
The difference between a chemical and physical reaction is that a chemical reaction produces heat. I was confused about why water being boiled and changing phases wouldn’t be considered a chemical reaction. My professor explained that when looking at water, an external factor produced the heat whereas a true chemical reaction occurs because the two different materials react together to produce heat and result in a change. The piece of steel wool ended up rusting and almost dissolving after a chemical reaction. Meanwhile, after some time water could change phases simply based on the temperature of the enviornment. Looking at Romans 2, I began to see how often we may believe we have underwent a change when in reality- our changes are merely physical.
Romans 2:29 reads, “On the contrary, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart-by the Spirit, not the letter.” The man who was truly changed was compared to the “physically circumcised’ man who is uncircumcised but “keeps the law’s requirements.” The physical change on the outside could not substitute for the spiritual change within a person. However, the man who was circumcised internally experienced a true transformation because, “true circumcision is not something visible in the flesh.”
In the same way that water undergoing phase changes produces a heat, but has only changed physically, I wonder how often we mistake our physical transformations for spiritual ones? The beginning of Romans 2 points out the danger of judging when we ourselves are wrong. I must admit that I have mistake my physical changes for physical ones. It might have been after a really good conference or an awesome bible study- but I’ve depended on external circumstance to heat my flame for Christ. The question is- where was my change internally? How had I changed spiritually and been transformed by my encounter with God?
Over time I’ve learned that just listening to an idea isn’t enough to produce change so if you’ve read this blog post I’d like to encourage you comment on this post (or message me, if you know me- I’m super friendly!) your answers to the following questions:
What is the difference between a physical and spiritual change in a person?
When reflecting on your own life, what kind of change have you experienced?