James 1-Part 4
Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted. James 1:9 KJV
LET IT GLOW
This brother is a believer in Christ, is considered poor in the world's eyes, of humble circumstances, as the NIV describes.
Liberty Bible Commentary states that low degree (tapeinos in Greek) is of a "lowly" economic or social status, but there is reason for joy.
So we po' folk have reason to rejoice. In God's esteem we are exalted.
Rejoice means to glory in a thing; exalted means rank, high station.
What gives me reason to rejoice and something to boast about?
- Through the grace of God I have been lifted out of the mirey clay (Ps.40:2).
- I have a heavenly position in Christ (Eph. 1:3).
- I can rejoice in having a high spiritual standing before God, though a poor believer, by grace and the hope which that brings. (MacArthur)
- I am an adopted child of God and join-heir with Christ (Rom. 8:17).
- I have an inheritance that is incorruptible and undefiles, that fades not away, reserved in heaven for me (1Peter 1:4).
- I am justified, pardoned, and sanctified by the grace of God through Jesus Christ.
- I am a priest unto God.
LET IT GROW
But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways. James 1:10 KJV
I recall spending recess time of our early elementary years, sitting on the grass and conversing with my girlfriends. We would tie together the stems of white clover blooms. Our purpose was making a crown or laurel. Sometimes we would put them together and make a long jump rope. It didn't matter whether you were a child of a rich family in the community or a child of a poor family, we all worked together. We all wore the beautiful crowns, pretending to be princesses, and jumped the unique ropes of white clover. In God's kingdom, it doesn't matter if you are rich or poor in this world. the blooms would soon pass away and our adventure was over, and we little girls were onto another.
Verse 10 talks about the rich being made low. He may rejoice because temporal things are not all he has. When he humbles himself, repenting of sin, he becomes a child of God and a joint-heir with Christ (Rom. 8:1-7). (Falwell)
The illustration of the sun in the middle of the day, shines in full strength, with its heat very great and scorching, causes the flower to shrivel and dry up, then drops to the ground; the beauty that is pleasant to the eye is lost and no more recovered. Earthly riches, like the flower of the field, have an outward show and glory in them, which attract the mind, and fix attention to them for a while; glittering and looking lovely, pleasant to behold, desirable to enjoy; when the sun of persecution , or any other outward calamity arises, they are quickly destroyed, and are no more.
So the rich man fades away, Riches are uncertain things, make themselves wings and fly away; they are things that are not, a vain show. riches often fade away in a man's lifetime, before he dies and he fades away; comes to decay; his glory does not descend after him, but falls off from him as the flower of the field before the heat of the sun. (John Gill)
Christ was rich in heaven, stripped of all His riches, and came in a low estate, condescended to men of low estate. Now He is seated next to the Father on the throne, high and lifted up.
As the poor brother forgets all his earthly poverty, so the rich brother forgets all his earthly riches. By faith in Christ the two are equals. (Hiebert, citing Lenski)
If we put our life and identity into things that fade away, we will fade away also. How much better it is to put our life and our identy into things that will never fade! If a man is only rich in this world, when he dies, he leaves his riches. But if a man is rich before God, he goes to the riches! (Guzik)
Do I consider myself better than others just because I have more riches? On the other hand, do I consider myself poorer than others because I don't have as much as they do? In the spiritual realm, I would rather be rich in faith and Christ than worldly riches.
Charles Swindoll says,"When stretched, faith doesn't break; it produces genuine stability."
Am I considering it a joy when my faith is tested? Do I lack wisdom in handling the trial? If so, do I ask God for wisdom? Do I have sustaining faith that surrenders to God and His purposes in my trials?
LET IT GO
Turn to Jesus for my sustaining faith and stronghold during trials.
Joyfully accept trials, inconveniences, for my good and the testing of my faith.
Stay humble; trust Jesus.