17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
In the midst of the problems James reminds us in verses 17-18 to focus on the first of 3 powerful promises starting first with:
- The promise of God’s perfect provision—God is always giving. (17a)
Verse 17 says “Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father.” God promises His perfect provision. I think most of us like to get presents, don’t we? But the problem with most presents is that they don’t last. They wear out and break, or we grow tired of them because they weren’t as much fun as we originally thought they would be. But what do the gifts that last all have in common? They all mean something. They many not mean much to anybody else, but they mean something to you. And more often than not they mean something because of who gave them to you. Your kids can take a crayon and scribble something on a piece of scrap paper but when they give it to you, it means the world. I will never forget a gift my son gave me when he was a little boy. It was a gold wrapper folded up into a square with the words “Best Dad Ever” written on it. To you it would probably looks like trash but to me it’s a treasure. It sits on a stand on my desk as a reminder that I mean something to someone. The treasure is not because of what it is, but because of who gave it to me. That’s why we need to treasure God’s promises they are not only special because of the gift but more importantly because of the Giver. You are either going to find Joy in the promises or junk in the problems. Now we need to remember the context of this verse because if we are not careful, we will pluck it out of context and make it say something it doesn’t. This verse is in the context of the tests God gives us. James has spent the previous 15 verses talking about testing and how we are to have joy in the testing. And now he calls those tests gifts from God. The tests in your life are not mistakes, while they may surprise us, they don’t catch God off guard. God either places them in our path or He allows them to happen to you, and then He calls them a gift. God gives us the gift of trials and testing, but most of us see them as a problem not a provision. Does that mean we have to understand it all, or enjoy it all? No, we are not called to find joy in the process but in the product. Our joy is not in the junk or even the journey it’s in become more like Jesus. Tests refine us, and smooth out the rough edges. Tests are like tweezers that remove the splinters from our life. Those things that have pierced and not just gotten stuck in our soul but stunk up our soul, like a splinter that infects and puffs us up with puss. God’s provisions are perfect, He is in control. No matter what circumstance you find yourself in, if you are a Christian then they have passed through Christ’s crucified hands. Not for evil purposes, but for God’s good to accomplishment His perfect will in your life. I will never forget talking to a pastor who had been wounded by some people in His church. As a result, he found himself thinking, “fine I will just quit and they can see how much I’m needed around here, this church will fall apart without me” He was willing to sacrifice the church to satisfy his hurt. And can I remind all of God’s pastors this is a privilege not a position, God doesn’t need us He wants us. Pastors sometimes we need to be wounded by God’s people so we can see the puss in our hearts, poisonous pride that points to me instead of praise that points to the Messiah. God thank you for the gift of being hurt by those you call me to lovingly lead because it exposes the health of my heart. People sometimes pain is God’s perfect provision. Sometimes we need to be wounded to see how far of base we are from God’s Word. Look some of God’s gifts are hard and at first, they hurt, and often growing your faith doesn’t always feel good. Because God is in the business of cultivate your faith not coddle your feelings. He loves us enough to provide what we need instead of what we want in a way that only an all-loving, all-knowing and all-powerful Father can. The first promise that can give us joyful hope in times of testing is that God promises us His perfect provision. What about you are you embracing the gift of God’s perfect provision even when it comes through trials and testing?