For the last two Sunday’s we have been studying James 1:9-12. The title of our sermon was “Faith: the great equalizer.” In this passage, James taught that two mandates concerning how we should view our lot in life:
A. Disregard your earthly bounty (1:9–11)
B. Esteem your heavenly reward (1:12)
James’s recipients were Jewish believers in Messiah Jesus and had suffered greatly for their faith in Him. And, there was very little hope that their situation would improve in this life.
We can learn much from James’s teaching. As Christians, we can face great difficulty for our faith, and we face all the difficulties which are common to man. God does not take us out of this world when He saves us and He does not guard us from difficulties. He uses them to give us endurance and to grow us in godliness. Therefore, we must heed these mandates as we traverse the minefields of life on this side of Heaven.
In verses 9–11, James instructed those who were believers living in humble circumstances to look beyond their difficulties and to glory (or find their joy) in their high position. In other words, he wanted them to disregard their current humiliating position and look to their lofty place in Christ. Likewise, he instructed the rich among them to glory in their humiliation. He desired for them to have a right understanding of the fleeting nature of the riches of this world and live for Christ. As such, he wanted them to live in humility using their wealth for the furtherance of Christ’s kingdom.
In verse 12, he instructed all who are in Christ to persevere knowing that there is the promise of eternal life given to those with proven faith. He called them to finish the course enduring the trials of life. At the end of his life, the Apostle Paul put it this way, “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing (2 Timothy 4:6–8).
A. If you are currently living in humble circumstances:
- Are you jealous of those who have more riches in this life?
- Are you meditating on your high position in Christ?
- Are you looking forward to the true riches of Heaven?
- Do you have the lottery syndrome thinking that everything would be better if you could “hit the jackpot?”
B. If you are a brother who has been blessed financially in this world:
- Do you understand the fleeting nature of your worldly riches?
- Are you using your finances to build God’s kingdom or to build your own?
- Do you understand your great responsibility to use your wealth for the spread of the Gospel?
- Are you laying up treasures on earth or in heaven?
- What does your checkbook say about your spiritual life?
- Do you live for your toys or for Christ?
- Do you understand your great responsibility to help the truly needy of this world?
C. Are you living as a blessed man or woman in a right relationship with the Lord loving Him with all that you have or loving Him in spite of what you don’t have?
D. Are you patiently enduring the trials and tribulations of this life living in light of God’s eternal promises?