James 1:9-11 – Rejoicing Because of My Worth in Christ

Introduction: While James 1:2-8 appears not to connect with verses 9-11 (as there seems to be a change in the subject matter from “trials” to a contrast between pride and humility), we see that verse 12 continues with the subject of trials. There is, therefore, an actual connection— that is, whether one is poor or rich, both undergo trials! 

  1. What does the Bible teach about pride and humility?
    a) Pride is an abomination to the Lord. Pride is bound for destruction. See Prov. 8:13, 11:2, 16:5, 16:18; God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble. Pride is evil. See James 4:6,16.
    b) Humility is to be the “clothing” of believers in Christ. With the humble is wisdom and God’s grace. The humble will be exalted. See Phil. 2:3-4, 1 Pet 5:5, Luke 14:11.
  2. The contrast in James 1:9-10: The lowly brother (the believer who is poor or one who is of humble circumstances)  as opposed to the rich (the believer who is materially wealthy). Although some would view James’ reference to the rich as referring to unbelieving individuals, the context would argue more consistently for understanding James’ reference to the rich as referring to believers who are materially wealthy.
  3. The command in James 1:9-10:
    a) The poor believer is told to glory or to boast in his exaltation. In contrast to the pride which God abhors, this command to glory or to boast is being used in the good sense of the word, meaning one is to “take joy in” or to “rejoice in.” See Rom.  5:3, Phil 3:3, 1 Cor. 1:31, 2 Cor. 12:9, Gal. 6:14. How can a poor believer rejoice in his “exaltation” or “high position” when economically, he is materially poor? See Rom. 8:15-17, 1 Pet 1:3-4. The believer’s exalted position is not on the basis of his works or material wealth, but on the basis of what Christ has accomplished. Because of Christ’s finished work, we are co-heirs! We have an inheritance that is imperishable, which will not fade away.
    b) The rich believer is commanded to rejoice in his humiliation. Material things will perish. Pursuit of riches, therefore, will only end in disappointment. See James 1:10b-11, Is. 40:6-8, 1 Pet 1:24-25. Material wealth will not exempt the rich believer from troubles. In fact, the more you have, the more problems there may be to encounter. Thus, both the rich and the poor believer must depend on the LORD. Material things will never give security or assurance in life (James 1:11). Neither will material things bring contentment. Only in Christ will there be genuine fulfillment. For this reason, the rich believer is to rejoice in the fact that his assurance comes from his relationship with Christ, not in his having the material riches of this world. 

How is your relationship to Christ?

Ponder the Words of this song “My Worth is Not in What I Own” 

My worth is not in what I own
Not in the strength of flesh and bone 
But in the costly wounds of love 
At the cross 

My worth is not in skill or name 
In win or lose, in pride or shame 
But in the blood of Christ that flowed  
At the cross 
 
I rejoice in my Redeemer 
Greatest Treasure,  
Wellspring of my soul 
I will trust in Him, no other.  
My soul is satisfied in Him alone.  

As summer flowers we fade and die 
Fame, youth and beauty hurry by 
But life eternal calls to us  
At the cross  

I will not boast in wealth or might 
Or human wisdom’s fleeting light 
But I will boast in knowing Christ 
At the cross 

I rejoice in my Redeemer 
Greatest Treasure,  
Wellspring of my soul 
I will trust in Him, no other.  
My soul is satisfied in Him alone.  

Two wonders here that I confess 
My worth and my unworthiness 
My value fixed - my ransom paid 
At the cross

Listen to the sermon here.

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