The Yo-Yo Factor

yoyo-1259441One of the best illustrations of the Christian life I’ve ever heard is about a yo-yo. I know this doesn’t sound very good, but read on.

First the bad news. Our spiritual lives can indeed resemble a yo-yo. Progress and failure alternate easily and sometimes quickly. Up and down we go. This yo-yo dynamic can be quite depressing. But looking through the lens of the Gospel, the yo-yo factor may actually encourage us.

We can be so distracted by our ups and downs in our sanctification process that we miss the bigger picture of God’s grace at work in us (Phil. 1:6). You may still struggle with bouts of self-pity or a critical spirit. But do you also notice that its frequency decreases? If you do, you know sanctification is in the making. Or let’s say you wrestle with lust or lying. You know the sweetness of victory but the bitterness of defeat too. But do you turn quicker to the Lord in confession than you used to? Chalk that up to God’s changing power (Eph. 1:19-21) as well.

Imagine someone yo-yoing while walking up the stairs. The yo-yo bounces up and down. Yet, there is an unmistakably upward direction to the yo-yo. The person yo-yoing may not notice, but if you were standing to the side of the stairs locked on the yo-yo, you could not miss it.

The point is that God is actively at work in His children. He changes us from one degree of glory to another through His Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18). Certainly, we should strive to minimize our spiritual ups and downs. Growth and consistency are two worthy goals to pursue. But remember that as we yield to the Lord, He does the changing in us, even amidst our failures (Phil. 2:13).

The yo-yo factor is not as bad as it sounds.