Imagine you are the ruler of a mighty and fruitful land called Prosperity Kingdom. You have servants in your court who bring you whatever your heart desires. In your kingdom, you have farmers and workers who plant seeds, till the land, water the plants, trim the fruit trees, pick the fruit, and prepare it in advance of you requesting it. Furthermore, imagine that the soil best suited for these fruit trees, which are your favorite, only exists on the other side of your kingdom some twenty days away by foot; it lies on the other side of a mighty, dangerous river, and beyond a mountain pass. The farmers make this journey at great risk to themselves.
Unless your Lordship ventures outside the palace walls to learn how to plant your own seed, till your own soil, make the long trek, ford the river, and ascend the mountain to trim your trees and pick your own fruit, you’ll never truly appreciate the full flavor of what went into the blessing that you enjoy.
Today in America, the land of opportunity, many feel entitled; affluent silver-spoon young adults have had little experience testing their faith. They run the risk of not learning what is required to gain the position and stature of one lacking in nothing, as described in our next verse. Generally speaking, they have been spoiled to the point that when money runs out, when their iPhone apps no longer work, when their employers are too demanding, insensitive, or unfair, and they are forced to turn to God for answers, their earned foundation of perseverance will be rather thin if it even exists.
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” [James 1:3]
Imagine that! “Lacking In Nothing!” Personally, I find that very hard at times to wrap my mind around. Over the years I have had many “joyous journeys” –trials and setbacks that truly tested my faith, my perseverance and seriously turned my joyous smile upside down into the saddest “woe is me” look that even the pickiest of Hollywood Casters would be proud of.
And yes, looking back on some of these testy experiences, my endurance did wax stronger, deeper and more determined than before. But this concept that one could reach a point of completeness whereby one “lacks in nothing?”
So to truly decipher this code we need to make sure our mind doesn’t read the phrase incorrectly. The phrase says “lacking IN nothing,” but our mind and our human wants, needs and desires processes the phrase differently to read as follows: “lacking FOR nothing.”
We all lack for more of something and if we are truly honest – we really want more of everything! More opportunities, better relationships with our kids, greater favor with our bosses and while we are at it – more money in our checkbook, savings account with an abundant supply remaining so that we can give to others the way we want to.
So understanding the distinction between the two, “IN” vs. “FOR,” the phrase makes perfect sense. Here’s why. What we are encouraged and inspired to do as disciples of Christ is ABIDE IN HIM. Understanding the GRACE of God is the only way this is possible. Because Grace says, there is nothing we can do to get God to love us more AND there is nothing we can do to make God love us less! This is what Grace is! A gift whereby we can do nothing to enhance its worth - all we need to do is accept it – and in doing so – we will be found – “lacking IN nothing!”
[Like what your reading? There’s more where this came from – deeper studies of scriptural stories in my book, Legacies of Valor – Traits of Character: The Noble & The Notable. Support this blog ministry by ordering a copy of Legacies of Valor today]
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