Day 3: James 1:16-18
I only have three verses to talk about today, but they are part of a great first chapter in this instructive book from James. As the brother of Jesus and the leader of the well-established church in Jerusalem, he writes with authority.
A quote I’ve come across says this “James is not writing about how to become a Christian, but rather, how to live like one”
Verses 16 -17
Sin is always a deception. James writes, ‘Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters’. Good things come from God: ‘Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.’
(It’s generally agreed that calling God the Father of Lights, is likening Him to the stars in the sky. Both they and He are consistent and unchanging)
Rev Nicky Gumbel (of Alpha fame) says, “You are deceived when you think that you need things that are not good. The deception in the Garden of Eden was that Adam and Eve thought that they needed to experience evil as well as good. God only wants you to experience good. Every time you feel like doing the wrong thing and choose to do the right thing, you grow in maturity, strength and wisdom”
I often find the way I am deceived is through self-deception! As humans we are really good at this and easily fall into it, making it a particularly dangerous sin and not always easy to recognise.
I’m quite a gullible person. The rest of the Church staff team once pranked me by pretending to all agree that our next location of church should be in Croydon!
We deceive ourselves through excuses. “I’m just not up to it at the moment”. “I’m dealing with something and need to step back and focus on me for a while”.
“I feel too tired / busy / insignificant / undervalued / old / young / stressed / pre-occupied” ………..you fill in the blanks.
If we don’t recognise self-deception and turn away from it as an excuse, it can draw us away from God’s best for our lives and from a close, honest walk with God.
I love the idea that we, human beings, are God’s first fruits. It’s long been a tradition that landowners and farmers bring a selection of their finest harvest to the market, to give thanks and also to kind of show off the produce they have created. God does that with us, his most precious and loved creation. As the Message version writes “we are the crown of His creation” Oh yes you are!