Living for the Glory of God ~ Vivir para la Gloria de Dios

James 1:9-11 ~ A Devotional

The brother of humble circumstances should boast in his exaltation, but the one who is rich should boast in his humiliation because he will pass away like a flower of the field. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and dries up the grass; its flower falls off, and its beautiful appearance is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will wither away while pursuing his activities. ~ James 1:6-8
Explanation of the Text: In this particular section, James offers a comparison between two groups of people. The first is the person of humble circumstances, meaning they are poor. Later in the epistle, James condemns the rich and their oppression of the poor (James 5:1-6). A reasonable conclusion, the poor in view have most likely been taken advantage of, oppressed, and humiliated for their position. In contrast to the poor are the rich who have lived the lavish life, sometimes at the expense of others. Like the poor though, the rich will also be humiliated in some form or another.

Despite their different circumstances, they are equals. The picture James paints in the mind’s eye is unmistakable. He shares of the flower, once beautiful but destroyed by the scorching sun. In the same way, the rich man’s wealth and activities related to that wealth are meaningless because they too will perish, a point that will be brought out in more detail when we examine James 5:1-6.

Examination & Application of the Text: Despite the different social status’ and labels that society applies to people, each person exists equally as a sinner. Wealth cannot protect one from the trials that will come. They make no distinction like people do. Trials though, serve a purpose to make a person mature, complete, perfect (v.4). Completeness, perfection, maturity are similar concepts sharing a related goal and requiring the work of the Holy Spirit. None occur without a relationship with God (cf. Proverbs 1:7; 9:10; Matthew 5:48).

A logical deduction about trials then is that they should cause people to consider God. Regardless of one’s position in society, trials will occur and all people can boast in such humiliation because of who they are without God and with God.

Questions to Consider:

  1. Intellectually, many people understand their wealth will one day pass away, so why is it so easy for people to trust in it and so hard for them to focus on something/someone else?
  2. What trials have you faced in the past? How did those trials cause you to ignore or trust in God?
  3. Develop a brief action plan of how you can respond to trials the next time they envelop you
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