OK, so I don't actually have a monster truck but it's so easy to brag about things when they're hidden away because no-one can know whether you're lying or not. The problem is, there are often lots of give-away signs that show the real truth. Most of you knew I was lying straight away because you know that if I actually owned a monster truck, I'd be showing it off to everyone and driving over their cars and stuff!
Earlier, James was talking about faith and works and the fact that real faith is proved by its actions. Something hidden (faith) is proved by something shown (works). Today's section follows a similar idea of things hidden being proven things shown...
If we think we're really wise, James says our wisdom will be proven by our humble deeds. If the humble attitude and good deeds aren't there, people won't believe it when we say we're wise and mature. Likewise, the things that we'd like to hide (false wisdom or foolishness and immaturity, bitterness and selfish ambition) are also given away by our actions.
So what is James saying we should do? Well, I don't think it's so much about the fruit as it is about the root. If our roots are in Jesus and we're becoming truly wise and understanding then the fruit will be humility and good deeds but if our roots are anywhere else, then the fruit is likely to be a bit squishy and it will taste rough! In fact, James' language is very strong - demonic!
Where are your roots? What are the fruits? Read verse 17 again and ask God to help you display these qualities as you plant your roots in him. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to drive my monster truck over some cars!