This would be a much simpler Bible Bite to compose if one was a mechanic and understood what an engine cylinder was. People say: “Well, the thing just has no power.” And the response before the days of electric cars used to be: “What else can you expect – it’s only a 4 cylinder!!”  Some enlightened car enthusiasts might be aware that many cars have six cylinders and some eight.  We are led to believe that for non-electric cars with traditional motors, cylinders are quite critical to a car engine.

Yes, crank-shafts and axels are somewhat important too. But we are told that its important for our vehicles to be firing on all cylinders. It’s called optimal performance.

A quarter of a century ago, aspiring managers voraciously read Jim Clemmer’s book “Firing on All Cylinders” with highlighter pens. How could a business achieve peak performance? Jim Clemmer had the answer – it must be firing on all cylinders. Every employee and every business process at every level should be functioning perfectly to achieve ultimate performance.

But James [Jim] Clemmer wasn’t the first one to promulgate such a concept. Centuries earlier, another James wrote about the concept:

But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:4

It’s the same thought. The Lord wants us to be firing on all cylinders – running smoothly as a Christian, not like a sputtering engine.  The word perfect in this verse means that you may fulfill the very purpose God has for you in your life – that you may fully achieve God’s objective for your life. It is called achievement, fulfillment, and completion. Finished! It’s very similar to the Greek word Jesus uttered on the Cross: “Finished!” John 19:30.

The next word is complete. The thought behind this word is that every part of who I am should be performing optimally. God’s desire is that every aspect and attribute of my Christian life will be up to par and performing just exactly as the Lord intended me to be working. He intends for me to achieve His objective for my life.  No sputtering or missing in any areas of my life. It requires ongoing, continual tweaking, adjustments and fine-tuning. Cars and Christians need ongoing tune-ups if they are going to achieve peak levels of intended performance.

James lived in a home in Nazareth and had the opportunity to observe his half-brother firing on all cylinders.  The Lord Jesus Christ Himself. What an impression that beautiful life for God must have had on James’ mind. Now he writes to say that the trials we experience as believers are actually tune-up jobs to help us achieve higher levels of Christian performance. I may be doing well in some areas of my Christian life but operating abnormally, struggling, under-performing or completely malfunctioning in other parts of my life.

James tells us to appreciate that the trials of life do have a purpose. They are tune-up jobs to help a Christian to fire on all cylinders. There’s nothing more beautiful in His Creation than when He looks down and sees a believer traveling the Autobahn of life – firing on all cylinders for the Lord.  That’s His purpose for all of us.

Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today.

Warmly in Christ
Peter Ramsay

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