You probably know that feeling. You are on a spiritual buzz, you have had a good prayer time, bible study or whatever, then you jump in the car and swear at the first
idiot, ahem, person who pulls out in front of you. What happened? Was this intrusion so bad that it stole away your preceding peace? How do we flip so convincingly between two extremes?
This is not a new problem. In James 3:9-12 we see James struggle with words:
‘With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.’
Now I always used to think that James was having a pop at us less disciplined folk, but reading it now it seems a bit deeper than that. Is this something James himself struggled with? His questions seem rhetorical and he includes himself – ‘we’. Whatever the case the imagery here is amazingly strong. Imagine you were supping from a lovely fresh spring and then all of a sudden you get a mouthful of salt water – would you go back to that spring to drink again? Our lives and mouths bring forth a confusing mixture of praise and curses and we wonder why our evangelism is so impotent! Think about your life for one day – would you hang around with you?
It used to be popular to talk about Sunday Christians, but it seems the truth is that we flip flop between the extremes far more regularly than that. One minute in spiritual ecstasy the next in the depths, and with such trivial events to cause this. Yet one thing remains the same throughout this process – God. What if we were to start involving God in our lives all the time? To recognise His presence not just when it is convenient to do so? To ask Him to join us outside of Christian gatherings and quiet times? While we stumble around God remains stable, unmovable and constant. He is with us when we work and play, when we are ‘spiritual’ and ‘unspiritual’ in fact to try and separate the two is a fallacy. Now if only I could remember that when I’m driving…
James 1:17 ‘Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.’