James DAY 2 - Two Kinds of Trial

James 1:9-12

What counts as a trial?

James says we should “consider it all joy when you face trials of many kinds” (v.2). He names two kinds in v.9-11.

In v.9 he says, “Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position.” “Humble circumstances” means “poor.” These are the hard times everyone thinks about. It’s when you don’t have enough, or don’t think you have enough: not enough money, not enough house, not enough car, not enough work, not enough promotions, not enough family, not enough friends, not enough recognition, not enough love. Think about it: we often feel like we’re under pressure because we feel like we’re missing something - something we need or something we want.

But there’s another kind of trial: having too much. Some think the Bible is against riches. Others think it encourages riches. Both are wrong. The Bible sees riches as spiritually dangerous. Fire can be good but it’s also dangerous because it can do a lot of damage.

Think about it: many people treat wealth like the key to a better life. They think that money buys power, pleasure, and security. We do need money and material things, but no amount of money provides ultimate security and satisfaction.

But too much of anything sours people. That’s especially true of money. Having too much also tempts us to think too much of ourselves and too little of others. When that happens, we mistreat people and create conflict. James attacks this conflict at the root all throughout his letter.

Deficit and surplus each test us in different ways.

When have you experienced the pressure of “not enough?” When have you experienced the pressure of “too much?” Which was harder to cope with?

Lord, these words of Proverbs 30 are my prayer today: give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God. Amen.
Posted in