Suggested Reading: James 1:1-12
Focus Verse: And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing—James 1:4
One of the best ways to explain what James writes in this passage is to do a brief grammar lesson.
Sometimes we confuse the words affect and effect. While there are always exceptions to the rule and that applies to the rules of grammar also, normally speaking, the word Affect indicates action, so it is a verb and the word Effect indicates resulting in or because of, so it acts as a noun. In short, something must happen or take place (affect) in order for something to be effected (resulting in) because of what took place. For example: Sally could not resist the urge to push Billy into the pond. Sally pushed Billy and Billy became soaking wet. Sally’s push was the action (affect) and Billy’s wetness plus his irritation was the result (effect) of that push.
In short: affect means to influence or to produce a change in something and effect means to experience the result of a change. So, if an event affects your life, you will feel the event’s effect. Of course, there are always exceptions but mainly speaking we can know when a person is affected by an event that means that the effect (outcome) is mainly in the level of emotions or psychology (feelings, beliefs, or thoughts).
We don’t have to be an expert in grammar to understand the bottom line of what James is communicating to us here. While the rules of grammar might be tricky and change up on us, we can know and be assured that the things God allows; those hardships, difficulties, tests, and trials which God sends or allows have a purpose and his purpose never changes; they are the affect (activity) that produces the necessary effect (result) in a believer’s life, bringing about a change of behavior, emotions, and thoughts. We can be and remain encouraged as we undergo our trials and hardships—no matter what kind they are or how severe they are—to know when we remain steadfast (immovable) in the Lord, his desired effect (result, outcome) is guaranteed. We will be made perfect (not sinless but mature and seasoned) and complete, lacking in nothing (strength, faith, confidence). Which is what will get us home to our Father in heaven and Jesus’ welcoming and open arms.
If we put our new grammar skills into practice, we can see through our example the effect Sally’s push had on Billy which resulted in his being soaking wet. In life and very relevant for us is how the devil sees and sometimes affects the pressures, hardships, and trials we undergo in this life. He wants these activities (affects) to make us to feel alone, isolated, feel pressured, picked on, forgotten by God, cause us to seek or formulate an escape plan, come apart at our emotional, mental, and spiritual seams, and result in our pulling away from God, finding ways to avoid what we are going through. That is the effect the devil is hoping for. But when we remain steadfast in the Lord, trusting in him and sticking it out until our completeness, we will not only disappoint the devil we will experience the perfection God had in mind and in store for us from the activity’s inception. To be sure, the devil does not want to deal with the mature or seasoned Christian because for him it is a losing battle with little to no victories. Let’s Pray
God, grammar can be tricky, and we don’t always get how it works but there is nothing tricky about the things you purpose for us through the trials and hardships you bring and allow to enter our lives so we can experience the full effect when they are over with. Our goal is to do more than disappoint the devil it is to become as James writes, perfected and complete, lacking in nothing. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen
Reflection: How are you personally encouraged knowing with every trial and hardship you experience God has intended and ordained positive effect as a result?