“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.”
James 1: 12
James 1: 9-12
We will all have experienced boasting, whether we have heard and disliked it in another or found ourselves guilty of it. In the main we probably do not like this trend in others or ourselves as it holds echoes of arrogance. Sometimes though it may feel good or even right to boast of what a loved one has achieved or for example the results of your team (what right minded individual could not help but boast about Liverpool Football Club – European Champions, World Club Champions and Premier League Champions all at once!). We find these truths in Scripture. On one hand we are warned against boasting and how it effects the Church (Rom. 3: 27 & 1 Cor. 5: 6), on the other hand we are encouraged that there are legitimate reasons to boast in the Lord (1 Cor. 1: 31).
In today’s passage James is encouraging the rich and poor alike to ‘take pride’ in their different positions. Is he contradicting himself or other passages of Scripture; what does he mean? Remember that James here is giving guidance on how to view, consider and deal with the trials we face. As we face these trials James is saying that rich and poor alike can take pride in their positions. James is talking to believers. He is explaining that whatever their position in this world they are in an excellent standing because of the Gospel, because of the Good News of Jesus Christ. The poor are raised to an exalted position in the Gospel, the rich have been humbled by it (vs. 9-11). As individuals we are made equal in the Gospel, both just as rich in God’s grace.
The global situation will hit poor and rich alike but in different ways. Foundations will be shaken and very real trials faced. If we understand God’s grace to us and have entered a rich and wonderful relationship with Him we will indeed be in an amazing position. Through repentance and faith, by God’s grace, we can be forgiven and blessed with new life; new life that stretches into eternity. We are adopted into His family and given the right to be called children of God (John 1: 12). Understanding the depth of this incredible blessing can help us face and persevere in trials understanding the ‘crown of life’ that we will receive. Our view of difficulties is seen through the lens of God’s perspective which can change our thinking and transform our living. This is a legitimate ‘boast’ because we are boasting about God’s love and grace; it can truly help us in times of trial.
To Ponder: Do you consider yourself rich or poor in the world’s perspective? Does your understanding of your position help or hinder you when facing difficulties? How might seeing yourself as a child of God, blessed by the Gospel, change your attitude and assist you?
Pray: Almighty and merciful God, from whom comes all that is good, we praise you for all your mercies: for your goodness that has created us; your grace that has sustained us; your wisdom that has challenged us; your patience that has borne with us; and your love that has redeemed us. Help us to love you and all your children and to be thankful for all your gifts, by serving you and delighting to do your will. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen
Praise: What Wondrous Love is this
10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman
Incumbent at St Aidan's Anglican Church,