Spiritual life certainly has its windows of opportunity, not only in the initial chance we receive to turn to God, but also in a smaller, ongoing way once we have done that. Every time we learn something new that affects our lives we are presented with a new window of opportunity. But if we do not quickly grasp the opportunity as soon as we see it, if we do not accept and implement whatever we see we need to do, we risk losing the opportunity entirely. Notice what the apostle James wrote about this:
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do” (James 1:22-25).
The analogy James uses of seeing ourselves in a mirror is not unlike the analogy we are talking about – of seeing a window of opportunity. When God shows us something about the way we are, or how we should be, we must act immediately or, as James says, we look away and we forget. Not only do we often forget what we saw, but if we do not accept and act quickly our own human nature will certainly take the opportunity to justify inaction on our part and sooner or later the window closes on change we might have made.
The Bible records many instances of individuals seizing or not seizing opportunities: Judges 9:33, Jeremiah 46:17, Acts 27:13, 1 Corinthians 7:21, etc. Spiritually the need to act when we can is just as great or greater than in our physical lives. The apostle Paul tells us that sin will certainly seize the opportunity to produce evil in our lives (Romans 7:8, 11), so we must quickly take every opportunity with which God presents us to grow and to do good (Galatians 6:10, Ephesians 5:16, Colossians 4:5).
God is certainly patient with all of those with whom he works, but the experience of Christians throughout history has been clear that he does not give endless opportunities to change and to act on what he reveals to us (Romans 2:4-5). Not to accept and act on each spiritual opportunity as it occurs is really a decision not to change or not to do good (“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin” – James 4:17). That is why we must grasp every window of spiritual opportunity as quickly as possible once it opens. God does not call us to go window shopping – but to choose and use every window he opens for us.