Glorious Giver of Gifts! (James 1:17)
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. —James 1:17
We all like gifts, they are often a sign of love; but it can be dangerous when we enjoy a gift more than the one who gives it.
My cousin used to travel a lot for work and he would always bring back gifts for his children, but after a while, when he spoke with one of his children during his trip his son or daughter would immediately ask, "What are you going to bring me?" This was an uncomfortable situation for my cousin. He realized that it wasn’t really his return home that his children were awaiting, but rather the gifts that he brought.
In the same way, it is sad how easy it can be for the believer to lose sight of the spectacular attributes of God that are made known through his gifts and the reason for which his gives them. In this passage we can see:
They orient us—The gifts come from above, from our God (who is a good and generous God that gives), who is also the Creator of the stars and the cosmos (often disputed by people in those times as well as today) (v. 1:17a).
They free us from the lie of believing that the good things that we experience are a result of us and our efforts.
They give us an attribute of God to remember: God and His goodness are constant.
There is no variation. There is no instability or change. You and I have “those days” in which we are more prone to certain attitudes or stimulus, but not God. It is such a relief to know that there is no variation in God. He is always there and He is always the same.
Or shadow due to change—A shadow changes position according to how the Earth moves in relation to the sun. This is precisely why James reminds us that our God is the Father of lights. He is above the sun and does not change as we saw in the portion above.
The message is clear: God does not change, He is always faithful to his character (v. 1:17b).
The great thing about God is that he is not measured in temporary parameters, but eternal ones. That is why many times things that can seem “good” like earning more money, moving to a certain city or even winning the lottery, actually do more harm than good when all is said and done.
But if we have understood that the goodness of God is in proportion to what is eternally relevant: His glory, we have an anchor to not only be in a place to receive His blessings, but also to enjoy His presence and be thankful, as well as the power to use his gifts appropriately: for his glory (Romans 11:36).
What attributes of God have you been able to experience in the most recent gifts that He has given you?
What gifts have you enjoyed without being thankful or haven’t used for His glory?
How can you use them for their true purpose (His glory)?