James 1:17-18 Blessings Come “From Above” and not “From Below”
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
James 1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
David Wells in his book “God in the Whirlwind” makes an interesting point when it says the Love of God comes “from above”
The most important point to grasp here is this: God’s kind of love comes from above, not from below. We could not make our way back to him, so he made his way to us; we could not make our way up to him, so he made his way down to us.
His point is that this love comes from God’s initiative (He sends it down to us) instead of our own working our way up to earn that love. James in 1:17 makes the same point by saying every gift or blessing we need to live spiritually comes from God the Father who on His own chose to save us (1:18) Editors note-I don’t believe the word choose in 1:18 refers to the doctrine of election, but God’s willingness to save us before we ever deserved it because we could never deserve it.
This is incredibly important for us to remember while in suffering (the context of James 1:1-18) because it’s in those moments that Satan loves to tell us two of his favorite lies.
- God doesn’t really love you
- And you could do a better of being God than God
He (satan) will begin by focusing on the part of our life that seems unfair, and plant a seed of doubt in our minds about the love of God. His first question to Eve in Genesis 3:1 can be phrased, “seriously? God doesn’t allow you to eat from every tree? You have got to be kidding me!” This seed of doubt will eventually make us believe that we can make decisions better than God.
There is just one problem with that
Any attempt to take the place of God completely removes our hope of Salvation
Well’s in his book points out the idea of God coming down to us (through Christ) is the only thing that truly separates Christianity from all other religions that are focused on love that comes “from below” (our works). If you want to get technical about things the suffering and sin of the world come from below (our hearts) instead of God’s blessing (James 1:14-15)
Even if the temptation of Satan doesn’t come to us (and it usually does) we must continually remind ourselves that the blessing of God comes “from above” because our sin nature wants to take care of things on it’s own.
Don’t worry God I got this
Or “okay Lord you take care of 75% of the problem and I take care of 25% deal?”
And “don’t worry Lord when it gets too hard for me I will let you know”
And so we go on living as if spiritual maturity comes from below.
May God never stop reminding us that our only hope of Salvation and growth in life is by waiting patiently on Him