Last month, I started a series to share the revelations from the Holy Spirit as I went through a season of pruning in 2018. During this season, many of the scriptures that became Rhema words to me came from the Book of James and I felt led to read and meditate on the entire letter from James. I received so many golden nuggets of truth that I wrote down in my journal at the time and feel it is now the right time to share these. My prayer is that you will indeed be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Rom. 12:2).
In today’s blog, I will be sharing insights from James chapter 1, verses 9 to 18. I have divided these verses into the following two topics: the curse of riches and strength through temptation.
The Curse of Riches (James 1:9-11)
I am not trying to imply from the title for this section that riches are always a curse. However, I truly believe that many of us have not been blessed with material riches because Father God knows that we are not sufficiently mature spiritually to remain humble should we get our heart’s desire. God’s blessings make rich without adding sorrow (Prov. 10:22 .
In our culture, there is a tendency to believe that riches make you better than others. It appears that this was also a problem among believers in James’ day. Riches open us to a spirit of pride. We fail to remember that Father God is the provider of everything that we have (Jas. 1:17) and start to believe that our prosperity is linked to our goodness. Consequently, when we are blessed with material wealth our carnal nature rears its ugly head and we begin to think that we are more blessed than others because we are more righteous than others who have not been as blessed. Our blessings from Father God have nothing to do with our goodness. All of our righteousness is as filthy rags (Isa. 64:6).
Everything, whether it be money, skills, abilities, or spiritual gifts is given to us for the sole purpose of blessing others (1 Pet. 4:10). We need to drill that into our heads and hearts. This will help us to guard against patting ourselves on the back when we come into material blessings. Riches are not your salvation; in fact, they can become your downfall. Let us recall that as the Israelites were getting ready to enter the Promised Land, Father God warned them not to let their new found wealth cause them to forget Him and where He had taken them from (Deut. 6:10-12). God knows us more than we know ourselves (Gen. 6:5; Jer. 17:9). This is exactly what happened. Pursuing riches for riches sake can cause you to draw away and fade away into nothing. Do not therefore be disappointed or feel that Father God is punishing you by withholding material wealth from you. Many times He is protecting you. He searches our hearts and knows when we are ready (Jer. 17:10). His timing is perfect.
Strength through Temptation (James 1:12-18)
We need to have the right attitude and perspective as we are faced with temptation. The scriptures tell us that we are destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hos. 4:6). We need to understand temptation, its source and its purpose, if we are to have dominion over it.
No matter what temptation we face we must continue to trust in God’s goodness. We must never believe the lie that it is Father God who is the source of temptation. God gives only good gifts so our temptations do not come from Him. The scriptures tell us clearly that temptation is borne out of our own desires (feelings and emotions in the realm of our soul) which in turn make us vulnerable to being enticed into sin. This was exactly what led Adam and Eve into sin. They were enticed by their inner desire to be equal to God. Satan knows pride is in every one of us because this was the cardinal sin that caused him to be cast out of heaven (see my series The Many Faces of Pride). If we allow our desires to control us we will end up in sin and ultimately spiritual death. Therefore, you need to know the enticements to which you are particularly vulnerable. Wisdom is knowing our weaknesses. Foolishness is trying to convince ourselves we have none. When we are honest with ourselves we can set up effective defenses against the sin (temptations) that do so easily beset us (Heb. 12:1) when the time of testing comes, as it surely will.
God is a Holy God and will never put evil in our path. He will allow us to be tempted to allow us to see the weak areas in our lives so that we can be strengthened accordingly. Remember, the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil (Mt. 4:1). We also learn from this passage the strategy we should use to overcome temptation – the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. We are told that God Himself will make a way of escape for us when we are tempted (1 Cor. 10:13). This is the goodness of our God!! Therefore, as you are faced with temptation, do not be angry with God but seek to hear from Him the areas of your life in which He needs you to make adjustments so that righteousness and holiness can be produced. This is the ultimate aim of the test – to bear good fruit that will remain (John 15:16, Gal. 5:22-23).
Join me next time as we complete our insights from James chapter 1. We will be dealing with the topics: wrath – the testimony destroyer and going beyond knowledge.