Every Good and Perfect Gift Comes from Above
James 1:12-18 (NRSV) Trial and Temptation
12 Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. 13 No one, when tempted, should say, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one. 14 But one is tempted by one’s own desire, being lured and enticed by it; 15 then, when that desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and that sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved.
17 Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 18 In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures.
Our Scripture begins with a blessing, which immediately reminds us of the Beatitudes found in Matthew 5. Did you know when we are blessed that means we are sanctified, and being sanctified means that we are set apart, not from God, but for God. When we can live through or suffer through temptation, then we are promised the crown of life.
Sometimes, though, confusion sets in and we believe we have been tempted by God. Yet James speaks clearly when he says that God cannot be tempted by evil, and therefore He will tempt no one. But what about the Lord’s prayer, when we say, “Lead us not into temptation”?
Do you remember taking your children grocery shopping, and you had learned better than to lead them down the candy aisle? When we ask God not to lead us into temptation, it is like saying, “Father, please do not lead me down the candy aisle today.”
As we mature, we begin to realize that it is not God who tempts us, but instead it is our own desire. Once we give in to our desire, then sinning is not far behind. Do you get it? Sin begins as a thought, and as we mull that thought over and over in our minds, desire is born, and once born unless we turn completely away, then sin takes over and leads us from righteousness and into death.
But here is the good part! Every, and I mean EVERY perfect gift is from the Father. Is that the most wonderful thing you have ever heard? He does not change, he does not alter His character, and He does not rewrite His holy Word. God’s purpose, His only purpose, is to give us new life through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Today is the day the Lord has made. Believe it, live in it, and receive His perfect gifts today. In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Father God, today help us to understand that You want only our good, and may we be transformed by Your Word, Your love, and Your precious Son. Amen.
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