Summary: #3 in the James Series. The Crowning Touch of Faith that every Believer will receive is the Crown of Life and Righteousness that represent all of the glory of God bestowed upon us for eternity.
The Book of James
#3 The Crowing Touch of Faith
By Pastor Jim May
Faith in God causes some vast differences to develop in the way that God’s people react to every situation than how the world would react when facing the same conditions.
James has already sent a tremendous shock into the thought processes of a Born Again Christian when he said in verse 2, “count it all joy when you fall into many different types of temptations.”
Only someone whose faith is in God and whose anchor holds in the trust that they have in God, can be joyful when all Hell is coming against them. That joy is a product of their convictions, faith and belief that God’s promises are true and that we will make Heaven our home in spite of everything that Satan can throw at us. God is in control of it all, including the temptations that are allowed to come our way.
But James, the first pastor of the Christian Church at Jerusalem, has more shocking things to say. He makes statements that are so contrary to popular thinking that we are forced to stop and listen what he is saying. You can’t just hear it and then forget it, but it has to be meditated upon to get the full meaning of what he is trying to say.
His teachings stand out like the giant print on the front page of the newspaper. They are meant to grab your eyes, focus your mind and compel you to read on and hear what the Lord God of Heaven has to say. James understood the high impact way in which Jesus spoke and he wanted to make sure that he passed that feeling along for future generations.
He reminds me somewhat of some commercials I heard several years ago that went like this, “When E. F. Hutton talks, everybody listens.” Well, I submit to you that when you read the words that James has written down, they will grab you and force you to listen.
Now listen to what he has to say in James 1:9 Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:
Now that just doesn’t make sense at all does it? If I am such a brother of low degree then how do you consider me to be exalted? Low means down, under, overcome, sinking fast and exalted means to rise about it all. How can I be both “low” and “exalted” at the same time?
If you were to study from other sources of historical writings from this same time period you would discover that, at the time James wrote this, there had been a famine in the region and many people had become extremely poor because of it. James’ audience could see the evidence of the wisdom contained in his teaching by observing the circumstances surrounding them. He was a master at drawing from real life experiences in order to create a high impact spiritual lesson.
We must learn the lessons that James taught Israel in that day. It does not matter our status in life as to how we relate to God. Poverty and riches do not hinder the depth of relationship that we can experience with Him.
Paul learned this lesson too and he tried to teach to the Christians at Rome who were undergoing such tremendous persection. Romans 8:35-39, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Thank God, we don’t have to be rich to enter Heaven, or to obtain our eternal inheritance through Christ. God doesn’t check your Dunn and Bradstreet Rating, or log on to “Free Credit Report.com” before He is willing to invest in you. All He is looking for is a willing vessel with a willing heart. When God sees those qualities in you, then he exalts you by his own power and will.
Both rich and poor need to come to God in the same way – through the narrow door of Christ.
Since most of the world is considered to be “of low degree” God gives us a real reason to rejoice. It’s not our station in life, but the condition of the heart that God looks upon.