Read James 1: 9-11
Our perspective is eternity. It is not to be just on money, wealth or power. When we see our life here on earth as a mere rehearsal, and how to learn and build to what is to come in eternity, we can be better prepared to face anything-even dire situations and death, because our eyes and attitude are in Him and not our circumstances! If we do not learn in our trials and circumstances, they will be a waste. We need to seek their purpose and allow them to better us and not bitter us! When we trust in Christ, we will be allowing ourselves to learn from suffering and not take our blessings for granted.
· Poverty, in this context in James, is referring to a trial that we can overcome. Rich people have their problems as poor people do. The point in this passage is that money really does not bring satisfaction; it only takes a person from one set of problems to another. Being either rich or poor will bring trials and circumstances we need to learn from and overcome. Thus, our focus needs to be on Christ and not wealth. Christ, who saves us, is the same Christ who is there for us and gives us our significance and hope. Being in Christ means our social structures have been obliterated (Gal. 3:28).
· As a Christian we must have a proper perspective on wealth. Wealth is never a proof of God's work or blessings, only growth in Him is. Wealth is not wrong; it is only a mere tool. However, it can also be a deadly distraction! Wealth does not bring real security or contentment; it only brings more trials and obstacles! James is condemning the Jewish Aristocracy that saw material blessing as a sign of God's blessing. This is not so!
· When we realize who we are in Christ, all of our problems and opportunities come into perspective (1 Pet. 1:6-7). We need to realize where our security is placed; is it in stuff that will rot, or in Christ, who loves us and is eternal? We should never trust in wealth and what is temporary when we can have so much more in Him! We need to admit we cannot get out of trials ourselves by just working harder; we have to realize Christ is willing and able to help us! He cares! Go to Him with all honesty; do not make up situations, edit, or distort them, for He already knows. Seek Him, His perspective, and His wisdom to give you understanding, skills, opportunities, forgiveness, Fruit, the help of others, attitude update, counseling, or whatever it may be. Then, do what He reveals to you that you should do (Prov. 2:6; John 7:17).
· God gives us the plan and the victory. We may not see it at times, but, nonetheless, victory is there, because victory comes from being obedient. Our key to growing as well as to reaching others for Christ is our patience while we rely on God's power (Acts 1:8; Galatians 5:16-18)! God gives us His Spirit and His power in love, and we are to take that power of love, with the care and compassion that God gave us, and present it as a tender mercy (Luke 1:77-79; Colossians 3:12-17). This is what God does for us and calls us to in our dealings with others, whether poor or rich! The love will be the power, as when the Spirit intercedes in the lost soul (John 6:44-45; 64).
· Keep in mind that other people, Christian and non-Christian will see your efforts of care and consistency (John 13:34-35), and they will see His Fruit in you (Galatians 5:22-23)! Your growth and experiences while coming out of trials will be the evidence of Christ's power! Your ability to be a Christian who realizes that you are a witness to the Light of Christ will be the light that impacts others. Your reliability in being a light to those who are weak in Him or do not know Him will be the essence of Christ that others may see in you (John 1:6-9; 1 John 1:7)!
What is our benefit of perspective? Perspective will focus upon Christ as Lord, the One to carry us through. This will infuse with our spiritual formation and personal growth. When we are growing, we are becoming more mature in Him and then being contagious with our faith. We will then be able to witness because we will have something to say and something to model that people will want. Everyone hurts; everyone needs help! When we are growing, we will become the church that Christ designed, mobilized in Him to be welcoming and connective to others for Him. This is the church triumphant! Let us, as the church triumphant, adhere to His call and follow. Apply your faith! Watch yourself succeed and grow and be contagious to others (Psalm 16:11; 107:09; Isa. 26:3; John 14:21; Gal. 5:16; 22-23; 1 John 1:7-9; 3 John 4)!
Put yourself in Jesus' hands, and then your heart will be on Him and not on what you desire. You will then be the person of faith and integrity who is surrendered and poured out to Christ and will be used, powerfully, in the lives of others (John 3:30; Gal. 2:20-21; Phil. 3:10)!
1. How does being self-focused prevent you from gaining anything of real meaning? Do you believe that wealth is never a proof of God's work or blessings?
2. Do you believe that we are made rich in who we are in Christ, not in our circumstances? Why, then, do many Christians think otherwise?
3. How does knowing that God does not take us though trials to punish us (although He may at times) give you reassurance and trust in Him?
4. How does your ability, to be a Christian who realizes that you are the witness to the Light of Christ, become the light that impacts others?
5. Do you realize that your reliability, in being a light to those who are weak in Him or do not know Him, will be the essence of Christ they may see in you (John 1:6-9; 1 John 1:7)?
6. When we realize who we are in Christ, all of our problems and opportunities come into perspective. How has this been so for you? How can this be so for you?
7. How can you put yourself in Jesus' hands, to be more of a person of faith and integrity?
8. How can you seek Him, His perspective, and His wisdom to give you greater understanding, skills, trust, hope, security, and opportunities?
9. How can you be one who is surrendered and poured out to Christ and used powerfully in the lives of others (John 3:30; Gal. 2:20-21; Phil. 3:10)?