The Frog

We are like the frog in a pot

Metaphors are a wonderful tool for those of us who write and/or speak. They paint great word pictures, typically about everyday things. They help put a message into real life context for a clearer understanding of the context. Following is one such metaphor.

If you put a frog into a large pot half full of hot water on the stove, the frog will make animated attempts to escape from the pot. The frog instinctively knows that something is very, very wrong in his froggy environment. If you, however, put the same frog into the same pot half full of cold water, it will stay, and not try to escape.

If you then start to heat the water gradually, the frog adjusts its body temperature accordingly. It will keep adjusting its body temperature with the increasing water temperature.  Just when the water is about to reach the boiling point, the frog won’t be able to adjust anymore.  At this point, the frog will start to make attempts to jump out of the now hot water.  However, it won’t be able to jump out. You see, by the time the water becomes too hot to withstand, the frog has lost all its strength adjusting to the rising water temperature.  In very short order, the frog dies.

What killed the frog?  Think about it!

Most would say that the boiling water killed the frog.  What killed the frog was its inability to decide when to jump out of the pot.

Our lives are like the frog in the hot water, aren’t they? When the big things happen, we don’t have trouble deciding what to do. Sure, we may have those moments when it seems that our minds are frozen (or deadened by the confusion of the moment), but typically we do react, and we do decide—right or wrong, and we act.  We jump out of the hot water. This can, and does, happen to Christians. We act by leaning into prayer, community, the word. We do something.

We are also like the frog placed in cold water. Survival, just as with the frog, is important to us, but we never see what’s coming as we begin to get comfortable in it. It begins to be easier for us to waver from our values over time. Or we pay less attention to our commitment to live a godly life. Or we buy into more worldly ways. Or we place less value on our faith as we continue to maintain control. Or we begin to yield to peer pressure. Or we start spending less time in prayer and the word. Or we start to avoid the lifeline—community. Or we lose our ability to view our sin as something we must fight. All of those “we’s” are subtle changes that will sap us of our spiritual strength to the point that when the water finally gets hot enough, we are too weak to do anything about it. We lose, Satan wins.

A good portion of issues we have in life are relational matters. The frog metaphor is appropriate to use in those matters. We all need to adjust with people and situations in our daily lives.  We need to know when we must adjust and move on.  There are times when we need to face the situation head on and take appropriate actions, and there are times when we are fools to do so.

If we allow others to exploit us physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually, or mentally, they will continue to do so.  We need to decide when to jump out of those relationships, and we need to jump while we still have strength.

Take a peek at society itself. It’s a prime example of the frog in a pot of cold water. Over generations it’s moral fiber and spiritual foundations have changed for the worse. They continue in that direction as laws and policies reflect more and more of the world and less of God. It reminds me of a train approaching the end of the track—except that it is still running full speed. One can only wonder how it will end.

One thing is sure—our God is a sovereign God and He has His plan for this world. He knows the outcome. We don’t. Our job as Christians is to know when to take action and jump out of the pot before we have damaged ourselves too much.

We all need to adjust with people and situations in our daily lives.  We need to know when we need to adjust and when to move on.  There are times when we need to face the situation and take appropriate actions, and there are times when we are fools to do so.

If we allow others to exploit us physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually, or mentally, they will continue to do so.  We need to decide when to jump out of those relationships, and we need to jump while we still have strength.

Photo by Fatih Sağlambilen from Pexels

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