Faded jeans. Faded furniture. Faded memories—mental images grown dim over time. Let’s be honest. Life here on earth fades.
Time tricks us, tempts us, promises what it can’t deliver. So we humans buy the lie and exhaust ourselves—chasing after that which fades.
Riches. Achievements. Beauty. All are satisfying at first. But they don’t last. Anyone who has watched a loved one age and die knows that the joys we experience on this earth are fleeting.
Life fades. So James beckons us to turn our eyes toward eternity, reminding us how “the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all of their achievements. (James 1:11 NLT).
Let’s reflect on the complete passage from The Message. I’m stirred by this artful paraphrase, a nice companion to my Study Bible:
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 (James 1:9-11 MSG).
God’s Word always points us toward things unseen. Eternity. Right from the start, James reminds us that our trials build perseverance (James 1:2-4). Trials also reveal what lasts—and what fades. Trials can loosen our grip on the goods of this life so that we anchor ourselves firmly in the eternal.
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him (James 1:12 NIV). That kind of crown is eternal!
God wants us to freely enjoy this life. But it’s wise to sit lightly on its fleeting pleasures. We’re to build our foundation on the eternal life given to us only in Christ. A blessing which will never fade!