James Series

James 1:17 – This Isn’t God’s First Rodeo

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

Here in Maranhão excitement is building among our churches as we prepare for the first teen retreat at the Mount Zion Baptist Camp, scheduled for November.

Excitement, and not a little anxiety. Suddenly, those on our development team are discovering just how much work goes into planning and executing a camp activity. The other day, one of our guys came to me, very worried about a series of things that need to be done before camp starts. In the course of our conversation I had to gently remind him that I have more than a little camp experience – everything from kitchen staff to director – and that everything was going to be OK.

“Relax,” I told him. “This isn’t my first rodeo.”

In my Christian walk, I have discovered that most of my anxiety, and a good number of my poor decisions, stem from an inadequate view of God. I believe James had this in mind also, as he wrote today’s verse. Taken within the context of a discussion about trials (verses 2-12) and temptations (verses 13-16), this verse comes as a reminder to us of exactly Who it is we are dealing with. James highlights three characteristics of our God that we should remember when the going gets tough.

His Position

James uses terms like “from above” and “comes down from”, making it clear that God is above us. This is not just a question of God having the “bird’s-eye view”. No, God is above us in every way – intellect, power, wisdom, holiness…the list goes on and on. When we come to God with our complaints, we are not complaining to an equal. We are talking to the one who is infinietly superior to us in every way.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

His Power

The term “Father of lights” takes us all the way back to the “Let there be light” of Genesis 1. When we contemplate the hand of God in our life, we need to remember that we are contemplating the hand of the Creator of the Universe, the one who made literally everything with just a spoken word. Absolutely nothing can stand in the way of such awesome power.

There is no wisdom or understanding
Or counsel against the Lord. Proverbs 21:30

His Perfection

Don’t tell my anxious colleague this, but despite all my camping experience, it is still possible for me to mess up. But with God, there is no “variation or shadow of turning”. His absolute perfection negates any possibility of an error, misjudgment, slip-up or goof.

The result of this threefold perspective of God is nothing short of transformative. When we see our trials and temptations in the light of the position of God, the power of God, and the perfection of God, we develop unshakeable confidence in His will.

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