A Good God Gives Good Gifts
Read James 1:16-17 (ESV)
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
How do today’s verses remind us that Jesus is trustworthy?
Over the past two days, we’ve established that God does not tempt us to sin. We may try to blame Him for our own sinful desires but when we do we are in serious error. God does not give us evil temptations or wicked desires.
Instead, James tells us in today’s verses that what God does give us is perfectly consistent with His character. God is good therefore, God gives us good things. As we discussed on Saturday, even in hardships or times of trial, He is strengthening us and sanctifying us. This is good for us even if it doesn’t feel like it at the moment. He might put us to the test but only to make us more like Him. He is not enticing us to do wrong. God gives us good things and everything that is good comes from Him, the originator of good.
The Bible says that God even takes the bad things in our life and the hardships we go through and uses them for our good. He weaves all these things together to make it work out for our benefit. Paul reminds us of that in Romans 8:28: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
So James warns us that we shouldn’t be deceived into blaming God for our own sin. Instead, we should recognize that every good and perfect gift that we have is from God. He refers to God as the “Father of lights” which is a reference to Him being the Creator of the heavenly lights. But it also connects light to goodness and darkness to evil which is a common theme in the Bible. In fact, God Himself is often described as light itself.
For example, in Psalm 27:1, David described the Lord as “my light and my salvation.” In John 1:4-9, John described Jesus as “the light of men,” “the light shines in the darkness,” and “the true light, which gives light to everyone.”
Also, Isaiah 60:19-22 prophesied of a day when the sun and moon will be no more but “the LORD will be your everlasting light.” John confirmed this prophecy when he recorded his vision in Revelation 21:23: “And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.”
James also points out that God’s goodness is closely tied to the fact that God does not change. While the light of the sun varies given the time of day and casts shifting shadows, God’s good character does not vary. His light does not cast dark shadows and it never goes out. He is unchanging.
Friends, let us not ever be deceived into blaming God for our sins and our troubles. When you are tempted to do that, meditate on His goodness instead. Practice gratitude. Look for His good gifts. Ask Him what He wants to teach you in the midst of your trials. When we remember His goodness, we will know that we can overcome the temptations and trials of life because He is trustworthy.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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Lord, thank You for Your unchanging goodness. I confess that at times, I forget just how good You have been to me, even when I don’t deserve it. You are a good God, You give me good things, You never change, and I know that I can trust You. Amen.