Starting today, I will changing the memory verse more often. The verses I will be posting will all be from the book of James. That is because I am currently leading, along with two dear sisters, Vilma and Mary, a women's study on the book of James. The book, With the Master in the School of Tested Faith by Susan J. Heck, assigns memory verses with each chapter. However, there are many times when we do not meet every week of the month, so the posts will be changed accordingly. (If you do not know the details of Word-in-My-Heart-Wednesday please go here.)
Now, let's take a look at our verse for this week. This short commentary is from The Teacher's Commentary:
Our awareness of our identity (James 1:9-11):
Human beings tend to evaluate themselves by various standards. One of the most common has to do with status and income. James called on those who are poor and once angry about their poverty, to throw off the old attitude and realize that, in this new relationship with God, they have been raised to riches. And the wealthy, once confident in their pride, are to remember their spiritual poverty. The old symbols of status, like this present life itself, are as perishable as grass.
Paul said in Philippians 4:4, "Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, rejoice!" He knew for he had gone without and had also experienced times of plenty. He said in the same chapter, "...I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:11-13)
Circumstances change as James indicates when he says that man's physical life is "as perishable as the grass". But God is immutable. He never changes and there is great reason to rejoice that He has lifted us out of our earthly circumstances to know and love and be loved by Him. He will never leave us, though our wealth may, or we may die in the midst of the pursuit of it. We are certainly seeing the fickleness of wealth right now in our country with the current financial crisis. Many have lost everything financially speaking. It is good then, not to be dependent upon finances, but rather to trust God for our todays and tomorrows and especially for eternity.
And if we have nothing, we have Christ who has everything! He has promised to meet our needs. Though my husband and I earn little income at present, we know that God will supply what we need. We have never gone hungry. It is futile to worry because it will produce nothing but a stomach ache. Rather, may we tell our Heavenly Father our concerns. He can do something about it. And our experience has always been that He feeds us. We have no stomach ache either from worry or lack of food because our Father provides when the paycheck does not.
Habakkuk said it well when he said (Habakkuk 3:17-18), "Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exult in the Lord. I will rejoice in the God of my salvation."