Oh, to be that paycheck to paycheck person and be tempted to look at those richer than me and wish that just a little more money in my pocket could make my life easier and get me out of these trials! Car repair? No problem if I had the little extra money! I can easily pay to fix it and even afford to rent a vehicle while it is being repaired! I feel like that "lowly brother or sister in Christ" that James is talking to in these verses. God's Word gives me permission to boast and cheer when life gives me a break and my heart feels exaltation (state of extreme happiness) or when I am exalted to a higher level, even if temporary. Of course, I remember to boast only in the Lord and not myself, giving Him all the credit. James goes on to say the rich can boast and cheer when they brought down. Matthew 19:24 tells us how hard it is to get enter the kingdom of heaven for the rich. I can identify with the hot summer sun, especially during weeks of drought, because the grass in my yard and the flowers in my garden merely turn yellow-brown. It is like the dead of winter is brought on early and the beauty of the great outdoors is zapped. James says this is what happens to the rich and prosperous. Am I supposed to take comfort in that? I would not wish ill on anyone. I prefer to see everyone on the same level as a creation of God. What I take away from this is that I should not desire what another has because there is no guarantee if I get it that I will be able to keep it. Even the rich and prosperous have their own problems. The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. Stop comparing myself to others and instead just look to God. Money, power, and social standing mean nothing to God, with the exception that He loves us and sometimes gifts us with the same. His love is what should mean a lot to us and we should give that back to Him.
1:12 In the Book of James there are many verses that are similar to the Sermon on the Mount. This verse is similar to the 8 Beatitudes (a proverb-like blessing/happiness) in Matthew 5 that were given during the Sermon on the Mount. Each Beatitude identifies an unfortunate person as blessed. I love this Beatitude as it is God's Word that summarizes the prior verses in this chapter and the Gospel. One could certainly memorize it and cling to it, just like John 3:16. If I remain steadfast, securely fastening a stance in my faith, while going through trials, then God who loves me promises me A crown of eternal life, and that makes me happy and blessed. All I have to do to pass the test would be to not reject my faith. It's that easy! My reward for keeping the faith even through troubles is not here on earth, but rather will be received for ever and ever, amen. 1 Corinthians 9:25 references the perishable wreath of an athlete, but the imperishable wreath of the crown of life. At the end of the race, I'm going to get an imperishable crown!