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. A man who endures trials is blessed, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. No one undergoing a trial should say , “I am being tempted by God.” For God is not tempted by evil, and He Himself doesn’t tempt anyone. But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desires. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death. Don’t be deceived, my dearly loved brothers. Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning. By His own choice, He gave us a new birth by the message of truth so that we would be the firstfruits of His creatures. James 1:9-18
Usually when people talk about being blessed, they’re talking about good circumstances. We might say “God has blessed me so much” when thinking about our jobs, relationships, or financial status. We might end an email or card with the closing, “Blessings,” right before we sign it to express our hope that things go well.
And we’re right. Those things are blessings. The problem is that we might start to think that if things aren’t going well, we somehow aren’t blessed. James wanted us to expand our understanding of the word.
The way to do that is to also understand some things about God. He isn’t concerned about wealth, because it’s temporary. His concern, instead, is that you endure whatever comes here on earth. Whether rich or poor in the things the world values doesn’t matter, because the new birth you have received through faith in Jesus means there’s a crown of life waiting at the end.
God is the giver of every good thing. He allows us to go through difficulties (the testing of our faith), but He does not tempt anyone. Today, right now, He is the same God who created the world and put people in it. Today, right now, He is the same God who promised to save us after sin entered the picture, and he is the same God who followed through when Jesus went to the cross.
He doesn’t change; not even one little bit.
So the person who drives a brand new car and the person whose car may not make it to work today are both blessed, because neither of those things will last. The person who gets the job and the person who doesn’t are both blessed. The person who posts pictures of her happy family on Instagram and Facebook and the person who grieves the loss of someone she meant to spend her whole life with are both blessed. The single person and the couple married 50 years…blessed.
James wasn’t trying to minimize your struggle, and neither am I. But, more than that, he didn’t want us to believe the lie that says that ease of life on earth is the end game. God’s desire for each of us is the same. The prize that awaits every believer is the same, too; we just go through different circumstances to get there.
Think differently today. In what ways are you blessed?