James on Trials part twelve

23 Jan

“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights…”

If we have something good and perfect in our life and we want to know where it’s from, we can bank on it, it’s from God. If something is good, if it is noble, if it is beautiful, if it is of value, if it is perfect, if it is complete, if it is mature, it is a divine gift.

Think about that.

Every single good thing in our lives is from God – coming down as James describes from the ‘Father of lights.’

The phrase ‘Father of lights’ is a Jewish way of describing God. It means that God is the creator of the heavens. Here James uses this phrase as a metaphor for purity and holiness. By calling God the Father of lights, James is describing God as the creator of all that is good and all that is holy. As we look at the good gifts in our lives, we need to remember that they have come down from God, who is the Creator of the heavens.

It’s easy to complain in the midst of trials, but we need to remember the good gifts God has given us. That’s usually the last thing we want to do when we are hurting. Our trials warp our perspective and it can become difficult to think of anything good.

We must make it a practice to stop and consider all the reasons we have to give thanks to God.

We can begin with common grace; things like your job, your health, and your family. All that’s from God.

But then we must move on to God’s special grace. That in particular is what James is referring to. He’s calling on us to consider the spiritual blessings in our lives.

As believers, when faced with a trial, we need to learn to stop and consider our spiritual privileges. A good place to start is by considering Jesus Christ. He is the ultimate expression of God’s mercy, kindness, grace and goodness.

Just think John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave us His only begotten Son.’ That’s an amazing statement. As Geoffrey Thomas explains, we’d expect that verse to read ‘God so loved his Son that he gave him the world.’ But it is the world of sinners that God loves, and he gives to that world his own Son. … Paul says, “He loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). He is the God who gives himself to every believer. Saul of Tarsus was a cruel bigot, but the Father of the heavenly lights gave up his own Son for him. It is so personal and passionate a commitment…. He gives forgiveness of my sins, and reconciliation with alienated divinity. He gives [the believer] the righteousness of Christ, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the adoption of sonship, the inheritance of the saints and the hopes of heaven…” God gave us His Son – what a gift. “…the Creator of the rolling spheres, He who is ineffably sublime; the one in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge – and he’s mine: the one who is the brightness of God’s glory and the express image of his person – and he’s mine: the good Shepherd: my prophet, priest and king: the one who has no restrictions, and no boundaries save his own determination and purpose – he is given to me! He plants his footsteps in the seas for me, and rides upon the storms as he comes to me. He nourishes and cherishes me. He comes to me in my loneliness and spreads a table for me in the presence of my enemies. He fills my cup to overflowing. When the Christian looks back he says, “Goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life.” When he looks ahead he says, “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” He will present me faultless before the presence of his glory in that tremendous day. Facing the future the Christian has strong hopes and a single eye, because God promises that the flood of these good and perfect gifts will never end. “Streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise.” God’s so good that He gave us His Son.

We serve a great God. He is the giving God. He gives liberally and without reproach and everything that He gives is good and perfect.

Stop and feel the force of that.

No matter what trial we are experiencing, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt: God is good and everything He does is good.

No matter how difficult our circumstances are, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt: God never does anything wrong.

God is good whether or not He seems good to us. Godis doing good whether or not we think so. And God’s gifts are good whether or not we feel like they are. For as John Blanchard explains “Nothing good comes except from God, and nothing except good comes from God.”

The only way we are going to keep from giving in to our desires when life gets difficult is by developing firm convictions about the character of God. We need to know James 1:17 well. We need to be convinced that God is good no matter what.

But perhaps someone might say, “How can we be confident of that?”

We’ll look at the reason James gives us tomorrow.

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