My Dear Friend,
I pray that today’s devotional will encourage you to keep the fires of mutual love burning. As always, you are loved and you are missed!
Love in Christ Jesus,
“If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!” James 3:3-5, NIV
Don’t Lose Your Spark
Mouth bits smaller than a pencil are used to guide large, powerful, and strong-willed horses. Comparatively small rudders are used to steer titanic, wind-driven ships.
The Apostle James uses these as powerful metaphors to illustrate how the human tongue, although just a tiny part of the anatomy, can destroy multitudes of people. It is like a tiny spark that sets ablaze and destroys a great forest. We have all heard of acres of beautiful forest being destroyed by the drop of a cigarette, or the spark of an electrical wire.
James’ point is that it only takes a little thing – even one that is neutral, and is in itself neither good nor evil – to do much harm, depending on how we use it. Such is a spark. A split-second spark can result in much destruction, but it can also ignite a furnace to heat our homes, the hot water tank to give us a warm shower or bath, or the burner on the gas range to heat our food.
Split-second sparks also provide the recurring ignition to start a car engine and keep it running. This week I was talking with a man who owns a tow truck. The engine in this truck not only has the horsepower to move itself, but it also has the power to pull an extremely heavy vehicle attached behind it. But in talking to this man, he said that he was having a serious problem. His tow truck wouldn’t start. After doing some diagnostic testing, he discovered the problem: “It’s not getting any spark.”
Without delving into all the mechanics, all the power that an internal combustion engine has – whether to move a mini scooter or a “big rig” tractor-trailer – is initially created by a tiny spark at the tip of the “spark plug.” Many times per second, a minuscule spark ignites fuel in each of the cylinders. Without this initial spark, the engine will not start. And without continued sparks, the engine will not stay running. If there is a missing spark in even just one of the cylinders, the engine “misses,” causing it to sputter and lose power. My friend’s big tow truck and the vehicle behind it were going nowhere – all because of a malfunction that prevented the electrical system from producing a tiny spark!
The same is true of our spiritual engines. Without the initial Spark of the Holy Spirit, my heart cannot be set aflame with love for God. Without the continued, regular Spark of the Holy Spirit, my spiritual engine will start “missing,” and I will experience a sputtering and loss of power.
The Apostle James was concerned that a tiny spark of negative energy would result in great harm. Today, let us not only pray to prevent small sparks that will result in destructive fires, but let us also pray for the tiny Spark that sets aflame the heart to passion for God and love for others, even those with whom we disagree.