Who or what do you put your trust in? Trials tend to reveal this clearly.
For many, it’s in worldly wealth. They think that money is the solution to all their problems. And so for those who have wealth, they pour all their money into their problems. And for those without, they waste all their time pining after it.
But in doing so, they become double-minded. While they may be asking God for wisdom to deal with their trials, they’re really looking toward money to solve their problems.
So James says,
The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position—because he will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business. (9-11)
In times of trial, it’s easy for those without worldly wealth and status to moan after them as if these things would be the solution to all their problems.
But James says, “It’s not wealth or worldly status that counts, but the heavenly wealth and status that you have in Christ. So though you may be struggling through these trials, keep your eyes on the things that are eternal, not the things of this world. And be content with what you have, knowing that God is with you and will help you through your trials, whether you have money or not.”
It’s in fact very similar to what the writer of Hebrew said to his readers.
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6)
On the other hand, it’s easy for those who are rich and who think they should have it all together to be humbled by their trials and to wonder what’s going on. To wonder if God has abandoned them.
But James tells the rich, “Take a lesson from the low position you are now in. All your wealth is not saving you from your trials. All your riches, all your possessions will pass away. You will pass away. So let your trials refocus you on the things that really matter. And stop relying on the things of this world to save you. Put your faith in God.
Then he says to both rich and poor,
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. (12)
In short, don’t waver under trial. Don’t waver by seeking the things of this earth and putting your trust in them. This earth with all its wealth and all its trouble will pass away. But you are looking toward something that will never fade away, everlasting life in heaven, and rewards that will never perish.
What trials are you going through now? Where is your focus in the midst of them? Where are you putting your faith? In money? Or in God?