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. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
– James 1:16-18
God continually shows Himself to be a generous provider. He doesn’t just provide basic necessities, but He provides the very best gifts to us. He only ever gives His children good gifts.
The passage above has good reason to say, “Don’t be deceived.” Our hearts are prone to deception. We often attribute the blessings in our life to ourselves or take them for granted. We tend to think our desires are best and feel frustrated when God doesn’t give us what we want. We are often tempted to feel that God’s gift of suffering in our lives is not good.
Yes, suffering is a gift in this fallen world. We are privileged to share in the suffering of Christ, and God’s allowance of suffering and trials in our life is for the purpose of producing indescribable blessing and glory in us. As James states in the first part of his letter, trials or tests reveal our need for Christ and prove our faith. They are used to produce the fruit of the Spirit within us. They pull our eyes away from that which is temporary and corruptible and place them on the Giver of eternal truth and joy. They open doors to share the Gospel. They produce true and lasting joy by stripping away that which can never bring true or lasting satisfaction. They reveal heart idols that would destroy us.
Of course, all of this is only possible because of God’s greatest gift of all – the gift of Himself through the Person of Jesus Christ. God has provided absolutely everything we need in order for us to enjoy eternal life with Him. He will continue to show His kindness to us throughout all of eternity. All gracious gifts that we do not deserve, nor could ever earn.
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
– Romans 8:32
Consider all of the needs and desires God has provided to you and your family personally? Can you think of instances of God giving gifts or allowing circumstances into your life that weren’t necessary at all, but simply sweet gifts of love? Can you think of an instance of God withholding what you thought would be good out of His grace and kindness?
PRAISE: Praise God for His good provision and abundant grace.
THANKSGIVING: Thank God for meeting needs and for His extra gifts of kindess. Thank Him for what He withholds because of His grace.
CONFESSION: Ask God to forgive you for treasuring gifts above the Giver. Ask God to remind you daily that He is the greatest gift of all.
FURTHER STUDY: Take some time to breathe in the truth of God’s bountiful provision as revealed through His Word and respond to what He shows you.
Deuteronomy 8:3; Philippians 4:10-19; Psalm 23; 2 Corinthians 9:6-11, 15
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