I am going to let you in on a little secret. I actually take a lot of pride in a characteristic that most people may not know. That characteristic is that I don’t fall. I guess I am just not that clumsy, but people will literally try their hardest to make me fall and nothing happens. I can count on one hand how many times I remember falling in the past few years. It is actually weird how much pride I take in that, in my own head. If you are reading this, please don’t make it your mission to try and make me fall. I want to keep the teeth I have, and even the ones that have already been replaced.
So when I read James 1:2-4, I am sure you understand why, it caught me by surprise.
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” – James 1:2-4 (NKJV)
When I first read this I stopped and gasped at the word fall. “Count it all joy when you fall,” I questioned to myself. That makes no sense to me. How are you supposed to think falling is joyful. I fell, 2 weeks ago, off of my back porch. There are 3 steps and I missed the second one. I would have caught myself, but I rolled my ankle, which just made me keep falling. Let me tell ya, it scared that hidden pride right out of me. When you have one idea in your head and the opposite is what happens it is really scary. I also scrapped up my hand. So from my memory, falling is not fun. So, it is understandable that I stopped at that point and wondered what the heck He was talking about. Then I kept reading and saw that we are supposed to find joy in falling into trials. “Okay God, You really lost Your mind on this one,” is what I thought.
So… What does this verse mean?
I think God is actually showing His protective attributes of being our Father. You see, in Matthew 7, it talks about how you can judge a man by his fruit. A bad tree WON’T bear good fruit, and a good tree WON’T bear bad fruit. A good tree will bear good fruit. One of the fruits of the Spirit is patience. So, falling into various trials leads to the testing of our faith which leads to producing GOOD fruit. So, in my opinion, I think God is saying that He cares about our reputation. He wants us to have the fruit of the Spirit. He wants it to be good fruit people see when they look at us. God wants people to look at us and say, “That is a good tree.” He wants to protect us from when those people come against us with false accusations. I mean, let’s think for a second. If someone comes with an accusation against Johnny that is terrible, how do we judge Johnny in that situation? We look at his fruit. Let’s say Johnny is bearing the fruit of the Spirit, then we can judge that Johnny is actually a good person. Which means that the terrible accusation is actually false, resulting in the Almighty God not only protecting you but protecting your reputation. You can even take it a step further and say that the person who gave the false accusation was giving that out of bitterness. So, seeing that there is bitter fruit, we can now see that that person is bitter. Now, do not go bashing and thinking low of everyone who gives a false accusation. That’s not what God is trying to bring to your attention. I was just saying that as an example, really to be a thought for us to wonder about ourselves. Am I being bitter? Do I have bitter fruit that needs pruned?
So to finish up, I want to look at verse four. We need to let patience have its perfect work. We need to let it be complete, and this kind of relates to my first post “Why Wait?” You see, God wants us to lack nothing. He does not want us to have to walk around with a limp. He doesn’t want us to prematurely walk into a situation we are not ready for. He wants us to be prepared, lacking nothing when we live our life. Trails are hard. They will test not only our patience but our strength, but we need to see that trail through till the end. Yeah, a lot of times there is an easy way out of a trail, but then we will be leaving a trail incomplete. If a prisoner goes to court to see if he is released but the trail is incomplete, then he will have to go back into prison until that trail is done. So yeah, we can take that easy exit, but a lot of the times, it will just lead to more shackles.
God wants to see us grow, He wants to see us bloom, and He wants to see good fruit. But we have to be willing to go through the pruning. God wants to protect us, and He doesn’t want to see any limbs missing. Ironically, sometimes that means we must fall. So, go ahead and fall.
Hope my process helps you with yours.