Three Ways to Look at Fall

I LOVE fall.

It’s my favorite time of year. It’s not autumn, autumn is what weird people call fall, who wear infinity scarves and drink tea that no one has ever heard of. Fall is my favorite season.

It’s a time of change! School’s back in session, which means that sports are back (Hello! Football is here). Everyone is learning, they're working towards something, you can feel the late night study sessions and awkward dance proposals in the atmosphere. The weather starts getting cooler, so you can finally layer clothes again. Sweating decreases, which directly affects the availability for most boys to get a date again. It’s pie season! Enough said. Thanksgiving is coming up, which also means you can sit around all day, watch Netflix, binge eat, catch some football, and it’s socially acceptable.

Fall is an amazing time, but for most of us, the very word can have such a negative connotation. It’s very meaning, by nature, is associating with the end or decrease of something. Most of the time when we speak of something falling, it’s very rarely in a positive light. Sure, the underdog team you are rooting for could pull away with the victory, leaving the undefeated pagan Philistine team to epic ruin, falling to their much deserved and long awaited defeat and despair. But for the most part, to fall is to fail. To fall is to be in a position in which you are your posture, you are less than.

But what if falling wasn’t always bad? What if you could fall and never crash? What if you and me and everyone on this planet were made to fall? The important question is not, “What if I fall?” but the important question to ask is this, “What am I falling for?"  

 

Fall In Love

 

You know that Jesus never preached about falling into sin? The key word here is “preached." He did have conversations with new believers commanding them not to sin again (John 8:11, John 5:14), but publicly, Jesus spoke not of falling into sin, but about living out of it! To speak or to live life watching your step so that you don’t fall, focuses on the steps of faith and not on the object or person in which your faith rests! Jesus spent most of his preaching ministry addressing the topic of the Kingdom of Heaven. He preached of the ways in which love, hope and faith would change the world if people only believed!

Jesus wasn’t so much fixated on people falling into sin, as much as he was focused on people falling in love. What if your perspective changed? What if you stopped focusing so much on the footing of your steps of faith and started focusing your heart, mind and soul on Jesus. You could not help for falling more in love with Him. Trust that God will guide your steps, and when you do stumble or fall, He will be the one to pick you up, to steady your walk, and guide you on your way. The apostle Peter is an excellent example of this. Though Peter may have fallen, (not from his salvation, but from his obedience and fellowship) Jesus didn’t even mention the denial to Peter when he saw him after he made his mistakes. Instead Jesus wanted him to focus on what was really important, loving Jesus and loving people (John 20:1-19). Fall in love with Jesus and live out of sin.

 

Fall In Line

 

Can we all just admit that God has created Wal-Mart as a way to test our patience? There are indeed 40 registers but that’s only for Black Friday (also in fall) and the day after Christmas. The other 363 days of the year, it tests our patience. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pro Wal-Mart, but the lines to check-out are crazy! When I find a register that just opened up or a "10 Items or Less" line with no line, I freak out. It’s like an angel just granted my prayers. No one likes to be in a line, especially if they’re in the back of it. We, as a culture, hate the lines. I get it, and I may have exaggerated to make my point, but you get it as well, we as normal human beings HATE lines. In fact the guy who loves lines is the weird one.

We want to get away from the line, break the order, debate the very foundational reasoning about the basis for “lines”. It’s no coincidence that the word for sin is so closely related to chaos and lack of order. Perhaps it’s in our very nature to desire to defy the science of obedience and order. This is why Jesus is so counter-cultural and will always be revolutionary. Jesus was pro-lines. In fact, Jesus came to call for us as a human race to fall in line.

Jesus has called us to fall in line with the order of living life as a person part of the Kingdom of God. We were once victims of our sins, living our lives in a natural fallen state of depravity. But Jesus has called us out of living trapped in our depravity to freedom in the richness of the Kingdom of God. The order of life has been settled, it is God, others, and then us. Jesus preached on the greatest command, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39). We are to fall in line, but also look at where we are in line.

 

Fall In Last Place

 

We are not only to just fall in line, but to also fall in last place. The amazing thing about God is that he doesn’t just leave us in last place, without giving us the reason why. He knows our nature and our inner most desires are to be at the top, to be in the front leading the line, parading the procession.

Dr. King addresses this very subject in his famous speech, The Drum Major Instinct. He says, "Let us look calmly and honestly at ourselves, and we will discover that we too have those same basic desires for recognition, for importance. That same desire for attention, that same desire to be first. And there is deep down within all of us an instinct. It's a kind of drum major instinct—a desire to be out front, a desire to lead the parade, a desire to be first. And it is something that runs the whole gamut of life” (Martin Luther King Junior, 4 February 1968).

Jesus reveals to us the reason as to which we should not only fall in line but also fall in last place. Jesus tells his disciples, "Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else.  For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:43-45). Jesus showed us that there is nothing wrong with wanting to be first. This is the wiring inside of us all, by nature all of our desire. But the way to be first in the Kingdom of God is not by selfish gain at the cost of others, but by serving. We do this not by thinking less of ourselves but by thinking of ourselves less. We shouldn’t be making life about ourselves, but about us helping others.

We were never made to fall into sin, into chaos, or into ourselves. We were made to fall in love, fall in line, and fall in last place. God created us and Jesus saved us so that we could live out of sin, to live in line with the Kingdom of God, and to serve others.

 

Jacob Steagall