February 25, 2021

The "Prosperous Life" fades away... The Book of James Bible Series


Hey There, Friends!

Welcome Back to our Study through the Book of James! If you've missed our first few posts, you can catch up by reading them HERE! (--scroll through to the bottom of that post to find the List of Linked Posts in this Series!)

I hope you are enjoying going through James with me ever so slowly... verse by verse! 

Let's dig into the Word and help build each other up!

Our verses today are JAMES 1:9-11! Let's read together!

Let's dig in first, reading these verses in The Passion Translation Bible:

"The believer who is poor still has reasons to boast, for he has been placed on high. But those who are rich should boast in how God has brought them low and humbled them, for all their earthly glory will one day fade away like a wildflower in the meadow. For as the scorching heat of the sun causes the petals of the wildflower to fall off and lose its appearance of beauty, so the rich in the midst of their pursuit of wealth will wither away." (The Passion Translation)

Now, this is counter-culture for SURE, right? I mean - most of the leanest times in my life where the paycheck was non-existent or just wouldn't stretch as far as we needed it to, I can promise you --I didn't feel like boasting because we had been 'placed on high.' 

Of course not! 

HOWEVER, it helps to remember this verse is talking more about how - AS BELIEVERS, we have a heavenly inheritance that we can look forward to and count on!

This verse is giving us yet another example of a trial (as the previous verses talked about!) and this trial is telling us that money - whether it be a lack or an abundance, can lead to problems. 

 Money is NOT the problem. 

It is not evil --but the root of all evil; it opens us up to the possibility of problems. 

Because in poverty or wealth alike, we can lose sight of just where/Who our Source is and what actually, truly matters long term or eternally speaking! 

James is saying even if we have little here on earth, to remember that we have a place in the Kingdom and we have a seat by the Father (placed on high) and we have found favor with God, Hallelujah!  And he is saying if we have plenty here on earth --to not forget that whatever we may have here --make sure we have it, and it doesn't have us because we will not be bringing it with us to our forever home in heaven! Earthly possessions or, 'earth monies' as my nephew calls them, will fade away. 

The Prosperous Life that is temporal will fade... 

  But the Prosperous Life that is Eternal goes on and on, without end!

I appreciate the imagery James gives us here, in talking about the wildflower getting scorched in the desert sun! In the land that this was written, the rainy season is very short and the burning heat goes on for a long stretch of time... we, too, can experience seasons of blessings and seasons of drought! We know both riches and beauty can quickly fade, so it does us well to place our hope in the things above!

Next, let's look at the ever trusted NASB:

"Now the brother or sister of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; but the rich person is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so also the rich person, in the midst of his pursuits, will die out." (New American Standard Bible)

I like this translation because it makes it clear that James is not making light of the circumstances, but rather giving wise advice no matter what side of provision or comfort you fall on! If you are humbled and needy, glory in how God has lifted you up, and if you are rich, glory in how you understand that wealth comes and goes, but God is steadfast and true! 

In other words, Pursue HIM - no matter what your bank account says!


 "Let the brother in humble circumstances glory in his high position [as a born-again believer, called to the true riches and to be an heir of God]; and the rich man is to glory in being humbled [by trials revealing human frailty, knowing true riches are found in the grace of God], for like the flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; its flower falls off and its beauty fades away; so too will the rich man, in the midst of his pursuits, fade away. " (Amplified)

How much do we love and appreciate The Amplified Bible and how it expands the verses for us to include the fuller meaning of the words? We see here, even more clearly, that 'high position' really is talking about being an heir of God! Isn't it good to know that whether we have a little or a lot according to this worlds' standard, we are always and forever a part of the royal priesthood, --princes and princesses, sons and daughters of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords?


Next, let's look at The Voice:

"If you are a brother of humble means, celebrate the fact that God has raised you up. If you are rich and seemingly invincible, savor the humble reality that you are a mere mortal who will vanish like a flower that withers in the field. The sun rises with a blazing heat that dries the earth and causes the flower to wither and fall to the ground and its beauty to fade and die. In the same way, the rich will fall and die in the midst of their busy lives." (The Voice)

Reading these verses in this translation reminds me that there is a balance and that, truly, we are all equal in His eyes. It does us well - whether in a season of luxury or lack - to make sure our Identity comes from Him and not from what we have or what we can do or who others' say we are!

Lastly, let's read Eugene Petersons' take in The Message Bible:

"When down-and-outers get a break, cheer! And when the arrogant rich are brought down to size, cheer! Prosperity is as short-lived as a wildflower, so don’t ever count on it. You know that as soon as the sun rises, pouring down its scorching heat, the flower withers. Its petals wilt and, before you know it, that beautiful face is a barren stem. Well, that’s a picture of the “prosperous life.” At the very moment everyone is looking on in admiration, it fades away to nothing." (The Message)

Cheer!!!  Celebrate with those who get a break after a season of struggle, and rejoice when those who are haughty and give all the credit for their successes to themselves are humbled and reminded that they, too, are mere mortals!


Let's remember to seek a Prosperous Life that will not fade away... that Life is available to us here and now! We don't have to wait! 

The Prosperous Life that does NOT fade away is the Life that is marked and mapped by Jesus! It's the life that is yielded and led by the Holy Spirit! It's the life that is fully surrendered and fully willing to give when He says to give... to go where He says to go... to love the way He showed us to love... 

The Prosperous Life that does not fade away is the life that leads to Light and that makes wide the highway to heaven and that gives all the glory to God!

Rather than riches and gold.... titles and fame... let's purpose to Know His Word, Follow His Lead, and Make Him Famous!


Let's close in prayer:

Father God, 

We're so thankful for Your Word! We're so grateful for the wisdom, guidance, correction, truth, love, and grace we find whenever we open it up! 

The reminder from James to count it all joy... to cheer in the face of trials (because it's really in the face of trials that we experience the most growth in our relationship with You!) and to not lose sight of the Truth of our inheritance and that, no matter what challenges we face here on earth, we are already seated in heavenly places!

Thank You Jesus that no matter what our bank account says --whether it is in the black or in the red, we know in the end --we are rich, indeed! Help us to remember that when You look at us, you don't divide and arrange us as Have's and Have Not's... we are all equal and uniquely loved by You.  Help us to cheer when someone catches a break or gets a win... and help us to cheer when we see Arrogance brought down to size!

Help us each to remember that more than anything or anyone else --Lord, we invite You and You alone to define us! You, who so lovingly created us... You, who sees all and knows all and works ALL together for our good... You alone have the ability and the right to tell us who we are! And more than any title or even fruit of the Spirit --what we are, first and foremost, is Yours!  Totally and Wholly, Holy Yours!

In Jesus' Name! Amen!


We will be back in about two weeks to dig into the next few verses together!

Until then, let's remember to:

Lastly, we will be linking each post in this series over on the Series Landing Page. This way if you are coming in late to the game, or simply missed a post for some reason, you can still play catch up by clicking HERE
You can also fill in the Subscribe Here bar at the top and you will be subscribed to a weekly email that will send each post to you there, as well as a monthly newsletter that comes out around the first of each month!

I'd love to hear what stood out to you in the verses today!  Chime in in the Comment Section below and share your thoughts, insights, or prayers!


  1. Rather than riches and gold.... titles and fame... let's purpose to Know His Word, Follow His Lead, and Make Him Famous!

    Amen sister! This reminds me of the Chris Tomlinson song, “Famous One.”

    You are the Lord
    The famous One, famous One
    Great is Your Name in all the earth
    The heavens declare You're glorious, glorious
    Great is Your fame beyond the earth

    1. Oh yes... I had forgotten about that song - but I love it! xoxo


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