James 1:9-10 reads, “Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: but the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.”
The Holy Spirit inspired purpose for this epistle is to provide pastoral counsel for a spiritually mature walk in the believer’s life. James 1:9-11 presents the second paragraph of the epistle. This paragraph gives counsel concerning the contrasting subjects of humble maturity and worldly materialism. The contextual situation and setting for the paragraph is established through the closing line of the paragraph at the end of verse 11 -- “So also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.” This contextual situation primarily concerns the materialistic ways of the rich.
In the three verses of James 1:9-11, only two sentences are delivered. The first sentence of this paragraph is a compound sentence, encompassing both verse 9 and verse 10. The second sentence of the paragraph encompasses verse 11. Grammatically, the compound sentence of verses 9-10 can be divided into three parts. The first two parts of this sentence present two connected, yet contrasting instructions. The first instruction, found in verse 9, serves as an encouragement to the lowly believer. The second instruction, found in the opening portion of verse 10, serves as an exhortation to the wealthy believer. Finally, the third part of the sentence, found in the closing portion of verse 10, serves as an explanatory warning to the wealthy believer.
Now, the two instructions of verses 9-10 are governed by a single verb of command. This verb of command is the word “rejoice” found in verse 9. This word “rejoice” is translated from a Greek word that means, not simply to express joy and gladness, but to express exultation and glory. Through this single verb of command, the entire sentence emphasizes our Lord’s desire for us to glory in three particular matters.