Being “fickle” is defined by “thefreedictionary.com” as follows: “… characterized by erratic changeableness or instability, especially with regard to affections or attachments; capricious (of whim or erratic).” Wictionary has another interesting definition: “… quick to change one’s opinion or allegiance; insincere; not loyal or reliable.” The more this word is investigated, the greater the number of definitions. Further synonyms are “faithlessness,” “infidelity” or “unreliability”.
That is quite a list of descriptions for just one word, but how revealing it all is. On the CBSNews.com website, it stated the following on November 4th: “The 2010 midterm elections were not just big news for all Americans. The rest of the world took notice too. For some, it was yet another sad step down for President Barack Obama, who took office with near rock star-like popularity internationally.”
This was the President who was greeted in victory in near messiah-like proportions not that long ago–someone who was going to really change the USA, and it would all work out well for the nation. Two years later, the nation was “quick to change one’s opinion or allegiance; not loyal or reliable,” as fickleness was defined above. It could be argued, of course, that this sort of “fickleness” was necessary in order to change things, which may not be considered right.
On a mundane and much less important level, consider the many sports supporters who are watching their team being soundly and heavily beaten by a much better side. Many may leave the stadium early, not wanting to support their team if they’re losing. They are fair-weather friends and fickle supporters, rather than appreciating the ability and class of the opposition.
Let us consider fickleness when it comes to our faith. We would shudder if we were accused of it and would roundly deny that this was part of our Christian way of life. However, the Bible does include many warnings for us in this regard.
Proverbs 24:21 instructs us as follows: “My son, fear the LORD and the king; Do not associate with those given to change.”
Gill’s Exposition on the Whole Bible explains that in religious things, we are to avoid those who “make innovations in doctrine and practice, always love to hear or say some new thing; turn with every wind, and shift as that does; are tossed about with every wind of doctrine, fickle and inconstant, carried about like meteors in the air, with ‘divers and strange doctrines’…”
Ephesians 4:14 tells us that “we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine….” Hebrews 13:9 instructs us along the same lines, and in James 1:6 we read: “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.”
In addition, the attitude of fickleness is clearly revealed in Hosea 6:4: “O Ephraim (the British people), what shall I do to you? O Judah (modern Jews), what shall I do to you? For your faithfulness is like a morning cloud, And like the early dew it goes away.” In the book of Hosea, Ephraim is mentioned over 30 times, and their “faithfulness” is described as fickle and fleeting.
It could be said that the opposite of “fickle” is “constant,” which is the position that the true Christian must maintain throughout his life. We must never waver, whatever happens! Fickleness is a way in which many in the world may behave, but it must not be an accurate accusation that could ever be levelled at us. It simply must never apply to our calling, as we keep and “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3), and as we trust in the supreme God–at all times!