Poverty is a trial to the believer. Apostle Paul confirms this stating that he did not have a home, often went hungry, had to do menial work, working long hours in order to provide for himself and not to burden the saints. This was a trial for him; and continued to be so, daily, until his death [ 1 Corinthians 4: 9-13].
James mentions the wars and inner conflict that the wealthy believer often has in James chapter 4. Desires. Lusts. Desires for pleasure. James admonishes such to repent from worldliness; the problem of Laodicea. However, the deep change and work of God occurs during trials. The trial is the season when He operates!
James 5: 1-3 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for
your miseries that are coming upon
Your riches are corrupted, and your
garments are moth-eaten.
Your gold and silver are corroded, and
their corrosion will be a witness against you
and will eat your flesh like fire. You have
heaped up treasure in the last days.
This occurs in the last days(verse 3). This time period is confirmed by the latter rain and the coming of the Lord(verse 7). It seems like the miseries have begun to come on the materially rich, especially in first-world countries. Many wealthy believers are experiencing a Job-like trial in their lives today. This is also echoed in John's word to Laodicea in the Book of Revelation. Although trials should not be miseries to a believer; they will be to the Laodicean who does not have a inward walk and who is not rich toward God.
Learn from the Poor Believer:
How to Weather the Storm
1. Receiving all things from the hand of God. This is inwardly. To do this externally is merely asceticism. James 5:6 ... you have murdered the just (believer); he does not resist you. The first step may well be to see the two monsters in the storm as Job did (see article below). A revelation of the sovereignty of God is foundational.
2. Patience comes. Remember that perseverance is one of the fruits that come if we receive a trial inwardly and do not draw back. This verse also indicates that the latter rain comes to those who have been patient through a long and severe trial. Does this indicate the saints which God will use and anoint in the coming world-wide revival and end-time harvest ? Those who have had an encounter after the Baptism in the Holy Spirit; the experience of entering a new door: surrendering your will to the will of the Father (taking up your cross). All those who are in the wilderness have been through this door.
3. Becoming established. Rooted in Him. Becoming secure in Him. Experiencing eternal security. Your will, your values and your judgments will die little by little. You will no longer be concerned about what trials come into your life; you will begin to welcome and to embrace the cross.
Someone once said:
'It would be better that you gather dung
by obedience than be caught up into the
third heaven by your own will.'
4. Be constant and quiet in trials. Remember our Lord was silent and answered not a word. Often things do not appear as they are in a trial. We can succumb and 'grumble against one another(Verse 9).' Let our words be few (' let your 'Yes' be 'Yes' and your 'No', 'No''- Verse 12)
5. Blessed are they who endure. Trials are often accompanied by a fresh inward anointing which ebbs and flows within such a believer. This is usually proportional to the believer's inward recollection. As the soul's activity is silenced, we retreat and live in the centermost part of our being - the secret place and it is here that the Lord manifests Himself to the believer. Job gained wisdom concerning the inward walk when he was shown the two monsters in the midst of the whirlwind.
Living Flame of Love
(Songs that the soul sings in her intimate union
with God, her beloved Bridegroom - John of the Cross)
O Love's living flame,
Tenderly you wound
My soul's deepest center!
Since you no longer evade me,
Will you, please, at last conclude:
Rend the veil of this sweet encounter!
O cautery so tender!
O pampered wound!
O soft hand! O touch so delicately strange,
Tasting of eternal life
And canceling all debts!
Killing, death into life you change!
O lamps of fiery lure,
In whose shining transparence
The deep cavern of the senses,
Blind and obscure,
Warmth and light, with strange flares,
Gives with the lover's caresses!
How tame and loving
Your memory rises in my breast,
Where secretly only you live,
And in your fragrant breathing,
Full of goodness and grace,
How delicately in love you make me feel!
It is often that in this place of death and burial that the Lord manifests and reveals the deep mysteries of His love to you. It may be that He opens the deep mysteries of the Song of Solomon to you. He has done this for many of His saints. Hudson Taylor, Watchman Nee and Jeanne Guyon are examples. One needs to read their commentaries on the Song of Solomon to realize this.
This fresh anointing could be seen as the latter rain in a believer's life. Often young believers experience the pleasure of His Presence. There is also much external - a mixture - that draws a young believer. This is the former rain in a believer's life. Should this initial experience be taken away, the believer has a very shaky foundation. It has been said that the Lord expects us to learn to walk by faith; this being the reason why He withdraws His initial showering of His Presence from a young believer's life. However, the faith that is taught is often the wrong faith; hence very few saints ever experience the latter rain in their lives.
The latter rain has its beginnings in a more heavenly path, ascending the mountain of God by grace alone - the inward path. At the foot of the mountain, we learn to be be quiet in the Presence of Jesus. We are only satisfied with His love. We begin to overcome dryness. We choose to wait inwardly before Him; rather than turn to worldly things. Moving up the mountain, if we remain faithful to the first truths, we become filled with His Presence to overflowing. Our being has more of the Presence of God than it can hold. We begin to understand what Apostle Paul meant by the the words eternal 'weight of glory'. At the summit of the mountain, there is a tremendous sense of security. We have learnt through experience that nothing can separate us from the love of God; through receiving all things from His hand. This is different from discussing the issue of eternal security; it is experiencing it.
I believe that Jesus was speaking about this when He said (paraphrased) to Nicodemus, 'How can you understand heavenly mysteries (the more heavenly path) if you have not first understood earthly mysteries (born again)'? In the last chapter of the same gospel, John alludes to this in the Lord's conversation with Peter.
Note that this is not the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. I agree fully with Kathryn Kuhlman that there are 3 important spiritual experiences for every believer: 1. New Birth 2. Baptism in the Holy Spirit. 3. Taking up the Cross. The first two are the former rain. The third is the latter rain. Ponder the fact the the volume of the latter rain is 7-fold that of the former rain in the natural.
6. Danger: swearing and cursing. The worldly man swears when slightly provoked or confronted with the smallest thing that is contrary to their will. This should not be true in the believer's life. He should learn to receive all things from the hand of God. Remember Job. His wife advised him, Curse God and die!
The source of swearing can also be worldly television. Instead of staying before Him, and gaining the fruit of the world losing its hold over us little by little; we draw back and turn to worldly television or movies which are full of swearing and pick up this habit subconsciously from it.
Have you ever wondered why James said these words?:
James 2:5 Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith
and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who
Those materially poor believers, who learn to carry the heavy cross inwardly, become rich in faith; and are not lacking in faith (poverty being part of the curse) as some teach today.
Our Occupation and the Cross
I have already touched on this above. Our occupation or call is not contrary to the inward walk with God. Resignation. Resignation to His will. Receiving all things from the hand of God. Resignation includes all the activities of your daily life. Whether it be earning your living, doing business, preaching; you are resigned to whatever comes into your life each moment, each day. Whatever happens is His will. You have not left this resignation or the Presence of God.
The New Testament writers say much concerning submission; especially in your occupation and call. You may only be understanding this truth today. Many saints have seen submission as something external. It is merely obedience to the Word of God. However, there is another way - the inward path. This is completely different to the external submission. Here the bitter cross becomes sweet. There is no bondage. Freedom. You are in a place where many good things come. Much fruit comes from such an inward path.