Monday, May 25, 2020

Falling to Success - Martin Wiles

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2-3 NLT

He came in and fell his way to success.

Jimmy was my favorite cousin—second cousin actually—and he was also my grandmother’s favorite nephew. He belonged to her sister, the one who died much too young from cancer they probably could have cured now.

Since this set of grandparents kept me much of the time when I was young, I saw Jimmy often. He loved to see my grandmother, his favorite aunt, and especially to get a couple of glasses of her famous sweet tea—two cups of sugar per gallon.

My grandmother’s favorite sitting spot was the end of her couch by the end table. Jimmy would knock at the back door, my grandfather would let him in, and he would walk through the kitchen and hall and into the living room.

That’s when the action began. After speaking to my grandmother, he strolled across the living room floor to get a hug, but just before he reached her, he buckled his legs and pretended to fall into her lap. He was a comic, and this was only one of his many shenanigans, but he fell his way into what he wanted: a hug.

I thought about his trick lately and how much truth inhabits it. Success never comes without fallings along the way—usually many of them. James told early believers their success in living the Christian life would only come through persecution. Not an inviting way to achieve fame. Through persecution, the early church blossomed, and through pain the believers would develop patience.

Jesus defined success as loving Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and then others as myself. I must travel many side roads to reach that point. A regular pattern of taking up the spiritual disciplines being one of them—Bible study, prayer, meditation, worship, fellowship with other believers, evangelism. All of which require time, and in a busy world this means taking the initiative and planning.

While on the journey, we’ll fall—into temptation, into depression, into disappointment, into frustration, into unhealthy relationships, into busyness, and into many other things. But when we respond with faith and trust, these falls will lead to our eventual success. With faith, we’ll get up and trust God to lead us on to His goal for our lives.

Don’t let the falls of life lead you away from God’s goal for you: salvation and sanctification. Rather, let the falls propel you toward His desired end.

Prayer: Father, take the falls of our lives and make something beautiful from them.

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