◦ Vs 9-11 Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. 10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.
▪ vs. 8…. no matter how humble our circumstances, we could be living on the streets, we need to recognize our position for eternity!
▪ 1 Cor. 3:16-23 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple. 18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; 20 and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” 21 So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.
- No matter our position, we belong to Christ and all things are His! I love love love to recall this at my low times. We are a child of God. We know He loves us. We are not lowly in our position, no matter the position.
- God dwells in me! Oh why should I worry? Really? When? Why should you worry? Why should I worry if I really believe God is in me?
▪ Now to when we feel rich. I do most of the time. I know I am not rich, rich in America’s view, but in the world’s view I am very well off. I have much more than I need and much more than most of the people in the world! I don’t know why I have a home and someone else does not. I don’t know why I know I can go get food out of the fridge and others can’t. I certainly don’t deserve it anymore than anyone else. All I know is this:
- The poor will always be with us according the Christ.
- We are to serve those in needs and if there was no one with anything to give, who would serve?
- I have been on both ends of the spectrum. I have been so poor as to live in a pay by the day dumpy Motel and was afraid I would not be able to have the money to keep that, to being able to be a stay at home wife. I just pray that I can glorify God in whatever position I am in and that I can remember the lessons of these verses!
▪ If I am poor, praise God I am a saved by grace!
▪ If I am rich, I need to remember this all is going to burn up, and praise God I am saved by grace!
▪ And if today feels long, or this week, or this month, or this year, I am wrong! It will be over so soon and I need to do with each short day what God would have me to do.
◦ Vs. 12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
▪ Testing is God’s way of helping in our sanctification process. We are to mature in Christ. We are to grow in wisdom. We are to head for the goal of perfection. But now seriously, without a bit of pushing from God, we would probably just stay stagnant.
▪ I often wonder about non-Christians who have to go through trials. Where is their hope?
- The non-Christian in trials are tossed around in the dark and waves are going over their head and all they see is doom and gloom.
- The Christian might be tossed about, but we always have light and we always have hope.
- Psalms 30:5 says”…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning”. We as Christians know that!
▪ So what is this crown of life? J. Vernon McGee believes it is a reward. Not salvation, but “it is that which can bring you into a closer relationship with the Lord Jesus more than anything else possibly could.” I believe he means in heaven? Greater rewards for for better behavior after salvation. He believes there will be levels of rewards in heaven.
- I really don’t know. It brings to mind when Jesus said it was not His to give the right to sit at the right or left hand in heaven, but up to God. So that is kind of a level of reward I think. I might have to study this at some point.
- But basically there is a crown of some kind to be received for those who stand in the end after a test or trial. Yay!
▪ Vs 13-15 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
▪ As we have seen God tries us. Test us. He knows the results, the is not testing us to see if we are a good product, he is testing us to make us a good product!
▪ But God does not tempt us. There is no evil in God. He does not want us to sin.
▪ However He allows choices to be made and Satan to roam.
▪ Don’t blame God because some guy in Colorado chose to do what he did. God is not evil, nor did He tempt him to do it.
▪ vs. 14 shows where some of this craziness in this world comes from! Us.
- Proverbs 19:3: A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the LORD.
◦ NLT translate it this way: People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the Lord.
◦ I add, that people ruin their lives and others, ruin people’s lives and we blame God.
◦ We do know that Satan tempts us, he tempted Jesus. But we are just a bit crazy without any help from him. But sin cannot be conceived just by Satan’s tempting, it has to have our own evil desire in it to become sin.
◦ Note also that it says the each person is tempted. Each person. King James says every man. No one gets to avoid temptation!
◦ People are tempted to different things. Me, to overeat but there is nothing sinful about food, others to get drunk or do drugs and alcohol and drugs are not sinful, others, some are tempted to have sex outside of marriage and yet sex itself is not sinful. It is what we do with these things that make them sinful. It is our choice what to do with them.
◦ Some psychologist are teaching that we need to get rid of our guilt complex. I believe our guilt complex is there and a part of you just like your nose is. You can’t get rid of, nor do you want to. We are guilty and we need to know it.
▪ Now I do believe once we have confessed and repented from a sin we need to let it go enough it does not hinder us, but not enough to where it does not remind us never to do it again!
◦ Proverbs 23:7 for as he thinks within himself, / so he is; (KJV)
▪ Oh my! But in the end let us learn from all of this. Many many things are our own fault from giving in to what we think, what we feel and what we want.
▪ If you want to live in California, then you will probably be involved in an earthquake, if you live too close to a river, you house will probably flood, if you live by the ocean, you might experience a hurricane. If you drink alcohol you take the risk of becoming drunk. If you overeat, you harm your body. If you cheat on your husband, the Bible says you have taken sin into your body. We make choices. Some are just risk we take, others are lead us smack-dab in the mist of sin.
▪ vs. 15 when lust has been conceived. That is the joining of two! The desire of the old nature and the temptation that is before us joined up and conceived sin.
- Jesus said if we are angry with our brother, we are guilty of murder. And if a man looks upon a woman to lust after her, he has already committed adultery with her. It begins in your heart. That is where is lays, waiting for some circumstance to happen.
- So from my last statement it might sound like temptation is sin. It is not. Martin Luther said “You cannot keep birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from nesting in your hair.” Sin is the consummation of the act inwardly and/or outwardly.
- But in this day and age we rationalize everything away. We think some are not really sin… (ex.: gossip, gluttony). It starts in us and we complete it by either dwelling on it in our mind and letting it grow, or by the physical acts.
▪ and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
- Nothing good comes from sin. And full-grown sin is the death of something.
◦ 1 John 1:6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.
▪ Death of your fellowship with him.
▪ Sin will bring separation of fellowship with God and He will judge you for it unless you judge yourself first and repent!
I hope we have learned some of the great truths that James is showing us. Please let me know how you feel about this study. I have learned a lot, and I I hope I can keep these truths with me daily! I hope this for you, too!