Good Things Come from God James 1:16-17
Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.James 1:16-17
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.
James is putting out a clear warning here: “Be not deceived.” As we will see in a few minutes the warning against an idea that has been very destructive in the church. This is an idea that has been going around since the beginning of time, that everything that happens (good or bad) is from God. I can’t tell you how many times I am talking to a person that is going through hard times and they say something like: “I don’t know why this is happening, but everything happens for a reason and I know God has a plan for me.” While on the surface the statement is true, the idea and intent behind it is straight from hell. Lets take the statement and look at it from God’s perspective.
Everything Happens for a Reason, Right?
While it’s true that everything happens for a reason, the reason I say this statement is straight from hell, is that the insinuation behind saying it in this context is that the person is saying that the reason is God. There are plenty of reasons that a person would go through a hard time. One very simple reason is that we live in a world that is still filled with sin. The other is the Law of the Harvest.
Galatians 6:7 tells us that a man will reap what he has sowed. This is a known law that plays out at every level of nature. Scientists call this the Law of Cause and Effect. So what this means is that usually unless God miraculously intervenes, something caused whatever you are going through, and if it isn’t good, it wasn’t God.
Maybe instead of saying everything happens for a reason, say “I wonder why this happened?” Then ask yourself what you could do in the future to avoid it. If you are a young woman who keeps getting her heart broken, maybe you could stop giving your heart to men and give it to God. When the right man comes along, with God at your side you will make better decisions in the relationship. Whatever you are going through there is wisdom available in God’s word to avoid it in the future.
I know God has a Plan for Me…
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.Jeremiah 29:11 NLT
YES! God does have a plan for you. The Bible clearly illustrates that the plans are for good. The plans God has are for your welfare and not for disaster. To put it very simply, if you are going through disaster after disaster, it isn’t God’s plan.
Simply “saying that everything happens for a reason, and I know God has a plan” is a huge cop-out. The reason James is warning us not to be deceived here is that this thought that our struggles come from God keeps us from seeking His wisdom to grow spiritually. Satan would love us to think that everything that we are going through is from God. After all, if it God’s will then there is not a whole lot we can do about it right?
What’s The Point in Saying Good things come from God?
James says this after saying:
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.James 1:13
James is trying to make it clear that good things come from God and bad things DO NOT come from God. Some may try to argue that this verse is only speaking of tempting a person to commit sin, but the Greek meanings of the words would suggest that is not the case.
Tempted in this verse is the same Greek work as the word for trials or tests. Evil in this verse is generally translated evil, but literally means evil, harm, troublesome, injurious, pernicious, destructive, baneful or ill. This word is a catch all word that basically just means anything that is not good happening to us. This would include sickness, sin, doubting or any other thing that is not good.
So this verse literally means that God will never tempt you to doubt Him. He will never test you to see if you will sin. He will never put your love for Him on trial by putting you through a sickness or injury. God will never do any of these things.
The point that James is working to get through to his reader is that trials will come. We live in a world still heavily influenced by Satan and sin. God does not send or allow these trials. Satan is called “The god of this world”. He is directly opposed to God. He loves to see you suffer and go through tests and trials. He doesn’t have to ask permission to influence the world.
James says that we can have joy in these trials though knowing that as we persevere though them we will grow in the Spirit. God will reward your perseverance when the you press through the trails in faith.
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.James 1:12 KJV
Notice that the man that endures the trial receives the crown of life. Just going through a trial is not a good thing, and it is not the will of God for you. God’s will is for you to be a reflection of Him. He wants you to pass Satan’s trails for you, he wants to pull you through them, not to leave you in them. If your life seems like one big never ending trial, realize that there is a God who loves you that is waiting to give you the wisdom to escape the snares of the devil.
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.James 1:5 NLT
Notice how none of the verses mentioned here are out of context. They are all from the very same chapter, aside from the verse in Jeremiah. James is making a very clear point here. Either we need to take charge of our lives and stop sitting in trial after trail, or we need to disregard the book of James. If we as Christians are going to believe that the book of James is supposed to be in the Bible, then we need to get all of the phrases that include God as a reason for our bad circumstances out of our vocabulary. If we are to be a light to the world and let the world know the Gospel, the Good News, it has to be done with our lives. If people continually see you struggling, saying “God has a plan”, but never see your struggles ending, why would they want your weak God that can’t pull you out of your struggles.
I believe that Nebuchadnezzar would have thought that God was nothing, if Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had simply burned in the fire. But, because God rescued them from their trial this is what happened:
Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. (Read Daniel 3 for more context)Daniel 3:28 KJV
The Bible gives us conquest after conquest; so many examples showing that God is a God who pulls His people out of the fire, if they will just reach out to Him for wisdom and help. If you feel like this is an attack on you, don’t. God does not create victims, the world does. Instead decide within yourself that you will pull through what ever the devil sends your way. Seek God’s wisdom through every trial. When He gives you the answer, be ready to listen and submit to God. Let down your pride.
So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.James 4:7 NLT