“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
Read James 1:2-17
Today’s final verse, read on its own, always reminds me of Christmas. Good and perfect gifts! Who doesn’t love those? In fact, many of us pride ourselves on being experts in finding good and perfect gifts for everyone on our list. The spouse who buys everything he wants when he needs it? The friend at work who likes nothing and has everything? The secret gift swap at your child’s school that has high expectations for something under five dollars? We’ve got this. This is why we shop the clearance section at Target all year, right?
But what James is really talking about in this chapter is the power of perseverance through trials, along with a stern reminder that God is not the one tempting us. The verses that precede today’s featured scripture point out that choosing to follow our own desires leads to sin. When the enemy tempts us away from God’s will, from the narrow path He has created for us, and we grasp for all that the world offers—the shiny, sparkly, noisy, distracting, self-centered—the only thing we get at the end is separation from God.
Do not be deceived. That temptation does not come from God. He doesn’t offer us life one moment and tempt us into sin the next. That’s not His character. If we stick with Him, if we endure and stay humble, He has good gifts for us. As James reminds us, “The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures” (James 1:17-18 MSG).
And these are gifts we’ll never find on the clearance shelf.
Quiet Quest: Think about a time when chasing your own desires only drew you further away from God. What were the small, seemingly insignificant decisions you made along the way that caused you to go after what you thought you deserved? How did those choices ultimately impact your faith, your friendships, your family? If you’re in that season now, what is one thing you can do to turn back to God?
We hope you have found this YouVersion plan helpful! You can connect with Crystal Stine and learn more about her latest book, Quieting the Shout of Should, at her website here.