Temperature checks became routine in many public places during the height of the COVID pandemic. Everyone became much more aware of the range of their own body temperature. Most are familiar that the normal body temperature is about 98.6 F with an acceptable range of 97-99 F. There are many variables that may impact this temperature, including the location on the body where it is measured, the level of activity at the time of measurement, and sickness, just to name a few.
However, there is a temperature which is less susceptible to environmental changes. The core temperature is the temperature of our internal organs. It needs to remain stable since all of our physiological and biochemical reactions in our cells and organs are dependent upon a precise temperature for optimal function. Attempts to measure it include a rectal thermometer or an ear thermometer, measuring the temperature of the eardrum (tympanic membrane). While these measurements are more consistent and reliable than skin measurements, they are still not as accurate as the true core temperature. The gold standard has been a catheter probe placed in the heart or a small capsule containing a temperature sensor which is ingested. Obviously, these are invasive procedures and not feasible for quick or routine measurements. However, the core temperature yields some fascinating information about our physiology and metabolism.
Researchers have found an interesting link between our metabolism and core temperature. In hibernating animals, such as bears, the core temperature decreases and this helps to slow their metabolism and conserve body fat and mass. These differences have been observed in other animals such as larger dogs which have a lower core temperature compared to smaller dogs. What about humans? While the core temperature does not significantly differ in obese and non-obese humans, it is hypothesized that in some obese patients, a decrease in core temperature may have initiated the weight gain and the normal core temperature stabilizes this weight gain. This has led to research focused upon medical interventions that could utilize these slight changes in core body temperature to address the complex physiology of obesity.
A skin temperature difference of 0.1-0.2 F is within the range of accepted variation with no ill effects. However, a core temperature difference of 0.1-0.2 F may have significant health effects. It is the internal change, one that cannot readily be observed, that impacts our health the most. What is true for our core temperature is also true for our spiritual health.
Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.
James 1:14-15 (NLT)
Our actions may portray a pious facade but God sees our hearts and desires. This is the true measure of our spiritual faithfulness to God. Like our core temperature, a slight deviation in our thought life may trigger a sinful action with devastating consequences. God created us as finely tuned creatures, biologically and spiritually. We need to always rely upon Jesus Christ, our great Physician, to enable us to live the life He created us to have.
Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.