I like the image of “channel surfing” or “surfing the web” which our generation can employ. I sit back on the couch and flip through the alternatives available to me until I settle on something that fits my mood, fits my fancy. James returns to the theme of chapter one which we might identify as channel surfing through life. We are like that wave tossed and turned by the wind, sometimes up and sometimes down, searching for advice that fits our fancy at the moment. James challenges us to choose or be forever divided. He advises we seek God and the Devil will flee. As we repent of the adrenaline rush, the thrill, the chase after our wants and turn to God’s wants and God’s wisdom, God draws near to us. As we humble ourselves before God, he brings about true fulfillment and peace.
Having spent my youth at the ocean in California, I love the thrill of catching that big wave that will carry me almost to shore. I only body surfed and I must admit that more often than not I was too early and ended up tossed and twirled about in the crash or too late wishing I could have paddled a little faster and had better timing. It is a bit dismaying to think that my moods often correlate to my focus of faith at the moment. Am I seeking God or my wants? Am I resisting evil or at least my selfish desires? The cake looks so good but as soon as I eat it, I berate myself for my weakness. Double-mindedness is real.
I am reminded of C. S. Lewis in Screwtape Letters where a greater devil is writing to his nephew working in the world and admonishing him to remember that people are amphibians. People live in highs and lows. Screwtape says in effect, God is happiest when the person at a low point when God does not seem present, that person prays in the darkness to the God he is trusting. Spiritual maturity is like learning to walk. We are not drones controlled by God but his children learning to use our spiritual abilities and we must learn to choose to seek him.
Today, as you go through the ups and downs of the challenges you face may you humbly trust God and he will lift you up. Blessings.