"When you experience trials, you often catch yourself reevaluating life.
If you happen to be rich, you realize that trials can bring you down to poverty.
Most of James's readers were poor and had become even poorer through the persecution leveled against them.
But James would not let them be discouraged.
He told them that they should rejoice in the fact that they were being exalted.
They had been low and were made high!
Through poverty, they had developed a humble spirit that would keep their hearts open toward God.
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven"(Matt. 5: 3).
R. W. Dale reminds the poor man of his true position in Christ:
"Let him remember that he is a prince, and glory in it. He is a prince on his way to his kingdom, traveling by rough roads, enduring many hardships, suffering from hunger, cold, and weariness, and the people among whom he is traveling do not know anything about his greatness; but he knows; let him glory in his high estate!"
God's testings have a way of bringing about equality in His family.
When testing comes to the poor man, he lets God have His way and rejoices that he possesses spiritual riches that cannot be taken from him.
When testing comes to the rich man, he also lets God have His way and rejoices that his riches in Christ cannot wither or fade away.
James's reference to the wealthy man and the comparative shortness of human life reminds him of the wildflowers that carpeted the hillsides of his native land.
They were dazzlingly beautiful for a few weeks in the spring after the rains had come, but their beauty was always short lived.
Using poetic language that should have been familiar to his Jewish readers (Job 14: 2; Ps. 102: 11; 103: 15–16; Isa. 40: 6–8; 1 Peter 1: 24–25), James describes the blistering heat that followed the rainy season and withered the flowers.
The short life of blossoms in Palestine provided a good illustration of the rich man.
When the heat of trials separated the wealthy from his wealth, the Christian rich man calculated that he would have had it for only a short time anyway.
He knew that he had really lost nothing since Christ was everything to him.
Hudson Taylor, founder of the China Inland Mission, was talking to a young missionary who was about to start work in China.
"Look at this,"Taylor said, and then proceeded to pound his fist on the table.
The teacups jumped, and the tea was spilled all over the table.
While the startled young man was wondering what was going on, Taylor said,
"When you begin your work, you will be buffeted in numerous ways. The trials will be like blows. Remember, these blows will bring out only what is in you."
We are saved by trusting in Christ, but we are crowned when we are tested by fire and continue to love Him."
- "What to do when you don't know what to do" by Dr David Jeremiah