“You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.” (James 1:3, The Message).
During a pregame talk with the Colorado Buffaloes some years ago I asked the question, “What do you get when you squeeze a lemon?” Of course the standard answer fired back from coaches and players alike, “Lemon juice!”
But what nobody knew that morning was that I had filled the lemon with ketchup. When I squeezed it tight and the red liquid oozed over my hand, they were all taken back.
“You’re wrong,” I then said. “The actual answer is that you get whatever is inside it.”
At that point I had them right where I wanted them, and then asked, “So, what’s inside you? What are we going to see when pressure puts the squeeze on you?” The answer is the same to the lemon question; we will see whatever is in you.
The great C. S. Lewis said, “A sudden provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man. It shows what an ill-tempered man I am.” James tells us in his letter that “under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.” Maybe this is why the Lord provides so many wonderful opportunities for us to be squeezed.
The origin of the phrase “true colors” comes from naval parlance back in the days when pirates sailed the high seas. Vessels would always fly on their topmast the flag of their country of origin. But pirates were notorious for hoisting the flags of different nations so as to gain an advantage against unsuspecting vessels. However, under no circumstance would any honorable Captain ever fly false colors. Thus, the phrase “true colors” indicates authenticity in both motive and manner.
The Lord wants to make us truly authentic men and women, but to get us there He has to squeeze out the other stuff – and He will do so with unrelenting pressure until there is nothing left to ooze.
So, you been feeling squeezed lately?