James 1:9-11 - Proper Boasting
Updated: Jan 21, 2021
Christian, put your faith and trust in Christ alone and experience true peace. That’s something worth boasting about.
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Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.
How might you begin a conversation about Scripture?
Perhaps you could speak to its inerrancy, the theological position that the Bible is without error and correct in its assertions. You might emphasize the relationship between the Old and New Testaments and the way the stories in the former are fulfilled those in the latter. But maybe its most distinctive quality, even among nonbelievers, is its capacity to subvert our preconceptions. It simply doesn’t follow the ways of our world.
Today’s passage from James is a prime example. What does it mean for “the lowly brother to boast in his exaltation” and “the rich in his humiliation”?
Money is certainly prominent in politics, but the real prize is power. Power buys influence and important relationships. It secures positions on key committees and even the nicest offices. Few enter the fray without the intention of accumulating power and wielding influence.
And it is worth noting that nothing is inherently wrong with such an approach. Public service is a noble calling and many in government go about their business to serve the common good.
So what exactly does James mean?
James wants to stress the limits of riches and power. They are fleeting. Thus, the relentless pursuit of such worldly riches distorts our witness, proclaiming to the world a false security in something other than the risen Lord.
The lowly do not boast in their poverty but rather their exaltation; that they too have been raised up with Christ. And the rich ought not identify with their success or riches, but with the humiliation Christ experienced in this world and on the cross.
United in Christ, both the rich and the poor proclaim to the world a more permanent security. Riches are spent. There are transitions of power. Who is elected today is out of office tomorrow. But those in Christ await life everlasting in the kingdom to come.
So Christian, take those things which you are really counting on and drop them at the feet of Christ. Put your faith and trust in him alone and experience true peace. That’s something worth boasting about.
Robert Hasler is the Communications Director for Ministry to State and the Co-host of The Will & Rob Show.