My daughter is conducting an experiment using mealworms to determine their preference for different types of artificial versus regular sugar. She had to compare her expected outcomes with the outcomes she observed. There is also something called degrees of freedom.
Degrees of freedom have to do with the number of variables and how free they are to vary in the experiment. After I looked it up to understand better, I quickly realized the concept went above my level of comprehension. But basically, if you have two variables and you hold one steady (regular sugar) and you vary the other (different artificial sweeteners) you have one degree of freedom. There is really only one variable that can change, the artificial sweeteners. The other is constant.
And so it is with our woman of the week, Phoebe. She was described as a succourer in the King James version of Romans 16:2. That means she was a helper, assistant or benefactor to many as well as to Paul. The variable she held steady, or her constant, was that she would help. What could vary for her were the who and the how she would assist. In this instance, it seems she had two degrees of freedom.
I love how she chose a supporting role, a succourer, so those in front could do the work they were called to do. She transported Paul’s letter, she cared for him when he was sick. She likely used her position to plead the case for those who were poor and neglected. Based on Paul’s commendation of Phoebe, I expect that she loved the Lord and his people. The research of her shows that were I there with her, I would observe the same. Her actions prove she is a lover of Christ.
During this season of my life, God is working on my character. Heavy on my heart is whether I am being observed as He expects. Are my words life-giving and encouraging, especially to those I love most? Sadly, there have been times recently that I have not “shown up” as I or He would like.
As a person who loves words and understands their power, it grieves me to know I have caused hurt with words I have spoken or chosen to withhold. Proverbs 18:21 says that the power of life and death is in the tongue. And in Luke 6:45 that from the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.
So God and I are working on my heart issues to help improve my word problem. The constant is that I will be intentional to use my words to edify and speak life. The variables will be to whom I speak them and the format I choose, in person, via text or email or in a blog like this one. Two degrees of freedom.
O God, touch my heart and speak through me. Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, my rock and my redeemer. Selah…
~ ~ ~
Your Turn: Are you being intentional to use your words wisely? What are your variables or degrees of freedom? Share your experience of how using words of life made a difference. Share a Reply below. ~ Andrea