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  • Writer's pictureDavid and Marilynn Chadwick

A Word from James: Fade

by Marilynn Chadwick


In the same way, the rich will fade away with all of their achievements. (James 1:11 NLT)


Faded jeans. Faded furniture. Faded memories—mental images grow 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. 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).


For the next couple of weeks, our inspiration will come from the book of James. Each day, we’ll focus on one simple word from this practical epistle written by the half-brother of Jesus. James is known for his constant reminders to be “doers of the word.”


Today, let's take another look at 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 the eternal. James reminds us that our trials build perseverance. 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.


Further reflection: “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 the world’s fleeting pleasures. We are to build our foundation on the eternal life given to us only in Christ. A blessing which will never fade!

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