The Everyday Girl Guide to: James and My Life (James 1:16-18)

June 25, 2013

Today’s section was James 1:16-18:

16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 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.

I don’t have any amazing insight into this particular verse, although I do find it interesting that it starts with “Do not be deceived.”  Makes me wonder if “good luck” was as common back then as it is now.

It’s easy to think that good earthly things will fulfill us.. and that the only way to get them is the lottery or working a lot.  But this verse says that every good and perfect gift comes from above.

First of all, gifts are gifts.  They aren’t a necessity and not giving gifts doesn’t mean that you don’t care.  However, people tend to give gifts to demonstrate their love.  God gives us good and perfect gifts to show His love.

All through Genesis 1, God refers to his creation as “good”.  When he gives us gifts, however, they are not only good, but perfect as well.  Imagine getting a gift more perfect than all the stars in the night sky, than the bioluminescence of jellyfish at night, or than a tiny, beautiful butterfly.  Those are the kinds of gifts that God gives us… yet we (I) pout because we don’t get the financial wealth we’re looking for or that relationship we’re craving.  If we don’t have it, maybe it isn’t good or perfect for us.

James makes the distinction between our unchanging God “who does not change like shifting shadows” and the double-minded Christian back in verse 8.  Being unchanging means that God is the opposite of that man, stable in all He does.  What He has done in the past we can expect Him to do in the future… and it doesn’t rely on us.

I think I like the last verse best, because James is establishing just how precious we, His creation, are to God. 

  • God chose to give us birth.  He could’ve stopped with the thousands of other amazing creatures He’d already created, but He chose us, planned us, and birthed us very last, the piece d’resistance of His creative outpouring.
  • He birthed us through the Word of Truth (caps mine).  He spoke a Word that was so true that it created all we are… then He gave us His breath to seal us apart from the rest of creation.  Do you feel special yet?
  • He made us the “firstfruits”.  Firstfruits are what was brought to the Temple as a sacrifice to God, the best of all.

James takes a moment here, after rightfully chastising us (me!), to build us back up.  It’s kind of awe-inspiring to think that we are the pride of God’s curio cabinet.  I am the pride of God’s collection. 

I’m going to go bask in that for a while.

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