James was influenced by the example and teaching of his older brother, Jesus. Jesus helped James understand the world from his perspective.
We do well to learn how to value people from James and his elder brother, Jesus.
Let the brother or sister of humble means boast in having a high position and the rich in having been humbled, because the rich will disappear like a flower in the field.
For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the field; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. It is the same way with the rich; in the midst of a busy life, they will wither away (James 1.9-11).
The humble brother or sister is someone who has been humbled by life.
Some people like me were “born on third base,” and are tempted to think they have hit a triple. Others were born with three strikes against them.
Jesus identified with humans who have been humbled. I don’t think the “high position” that James called for and the “high position” that Jesus spoke of is accidental.
When Jesus said, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (John 12.32), he used the same word as is found in this verse.
Jesus knew the reality of a humble life and willingly adopted a lowly lifestyle.
He had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by others;
a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity,
and as one from whom others hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him of no account. (Isaiah 53.2-3)
If you have been humbled by life, your confidence is in the fact that the same thing happened to Jesus.
Your hard times are very real to you. They were very real to Jesus. Read through Isaiah 53 and you will see what Jesus experienced in life.
Whether I knew it or not, I was born on third base. I have been given opportunities that carry responsibilities to my family and society.
If you are like me, we need to try and see the world through the eyes of Jesus and James.
I think James drew from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount when he counseled first-place persons to see their true humble and low position.
James echoed Jesus who said, “And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin,
“Yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.
“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?” (Matthew 6.28-31).
Not only will clothing wear out, but the same is true for physical bodies.
Wealth and success may give us a false sense of security and pride. A humility that depends on God and seeks to see other humans like Jesus will serve us well.
The best position is to align ourselves with Jesus’ primary message in his great sermon.
“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6.33).
Rudy Ross and I talk about the Book of James on YouTube. You can see the video on the Bob Spradling channel.
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