Sometimes I feel that there are two of me: the believing one and the doubting one. It can be a perfectly good Christian day, and whammo! I crash plunk into a very carnal brick wall and start acting like I’m possessed by demons. My speech suddenly spirals down to less-than-edifying, and I can feel the chill of being out of sync with God. Other times, I am so in love with Him, I have no cares in this world. Everything around me seems sacred; nothing or no one can push my buttons. I’m soaring on the wings of the Holy One Who has placed my feet in high places.
Why do we as humans have these spiritual mood swings? Why, once we have declared our love for Christ, do we backpedal and behave like our old selves? It’s because of Adam and Eve—let’s blame them! But when I’m on that mountain top of spiritual joy, how do I get from there to the dismal valley of discontent? I know God loves me when I’m down there, but it’s hard to remember that at the time.
The apostle Paul must have been an intense man, and perhaps we can learn from him. A zealous “Christ hater” in his former life, Paul gets a complete instant overhaul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). He morphs from hate to love and becomes one of the most famous and revered promotors of our Lord. But even Paul struggles with the “split personality” thing. He still does the things he knows he shouldn’t (Romans 7:15) and he even struggles with how to share his faith. “For if we are beside ourselves (i.e., a little crazy), it is for God,” he tells the Corinthians, “if we are in our right mind, it is for you” (i.e., preaching the good news without too many theatrics) (2 Corinthians 5:13). I have to remind myself of Paul’s very words, “Pray without ceasing,” which came in the middle of “rejoice always,” and “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). This formula can keep us all from torturing ourselves when we fail.
Forgiving Father, You have to grace to forgive; let me have the humility to accept. Amen