The verses I am writing about in James, chapter 1 may seem a bit confusing. They speak about pride and humility. Verse 9 states: “Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position.” So, if believers who are in humble circumstances, why should they take pride in their high position? Wait, I thought that this verse states that they were in a low position early in the verse? I am going to explain how this really does make sense in verses 9-12. Basically, pride withers but humility earns a reward.
“But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower.” Now this seems really confusing! Do you really think that the rich are going to be proud that they are humiliated? I don’t normally see someone who is wealthy and knows it, glad that all of their wealth is not going to last. It is most common to see them gloat that they are well off. Most are very proud of their wealth.
Do They Know That Wealth Has No Eternal Value?
Imagine some of the wealthy people in the world or the USA specifically. Elon Musk’s name comes to my mind as does Jeff Bezos. Neither one seems to have a care in the world as far as finances go. Recently Elon Musk put down a deposit of $10,000 in order to ride on the Virgin Galactic into suborbital space. The actual price is $250,000. We don’t know yet when this will happen but it is expected to happen.https://www.space.com/elon-musk-will-fly-on-virgin-galactic. I am not certain that Elon Musk or other wealthy people are aware that pride withers but humility earns a reward.
Verse 11 states: “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.” While it may take a long time for one’s wealth to be destroyed, their riches will NOT remain forever. Often, I wonder how many very wealthy people realize that their wealth is temporary. It is not going to last. What will last though? When we look at the next verse, verse 12, in the next paragraph, we will see what is of upmost value. It is what God rewards the most!
The Humble Earn Their Reward
“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.”(Verse 12). When we go through the tough circumstances that come and go,in our lives and we persevere,( looking to God to sustain us), it really humbles us(or usually does). God is the one who raises us up! If we return to verse 9, this verse states that the “believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position.”
Believers do not start out in humility, it takes time to grow and learn. We can be proud,(not gloat) when we see that we have done right before God and He is pleased with our life. Verse 12 even says that when those who persevere under trial and stand the test, that person is going to “receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” That is His reward to us! It will last too! So, pride withers, but humility earns a reward!
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”1 Peter 5:6-7