Every. It’s all in the word. All. Complete. When the Bible says that every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of Lights, there is that word ‘every.’ Like a good father, the Lord both disciplines and blesses. Like a kind stranger, He brings gifts to those He wants a relationship with. Whether a believer or an atheist, every…every….every good and perfect gift in this life comes from the Lord. Life, beauty, love, success, wisdom, ice cream…every good and perfect gift fall from the fingers of God into our life.
Many people simply will not understand this nor will they accept it. But what about you? Do you believe this? Well…do you?
In Matthew, Jesus said that if we will seek first the Kingdom of Heaven, the Lord will add good and perfect gifts to our life. When we seek the gift itself, we deny the one who provides. Sure, because He is kind, He still gives us good gifts even when we seek the gift first, but inevitably, we forfeit other gifts because we seek the gifts instead of the Giver.
The essence of God’s provision is shalom. Most of us understand shalom to mean peace, but it is a comprehensive peace. It is a peace that comes from blessings in every direction. Not that we don’t have struggles. These are just part of life. But a lack of shalom allows for blessings in some directions, but to the detriment of others. We find blessings at work, but our home life begins to fall apart. We find blessings financially, but emotionally we suffer. But when we seek first the Kingdom of God, He provides so that, despite the struggles, oaverall we prosper this way and that, every direction. This is simply God’s promise and we know that He keeps His promises. His principles are true. But do you believe it?
I want to say that I believe it in my heart. I can say without a doubt that I know it to be true. I have absolutely no doubt, but my flesh betrays me. So often, I take my eyes off the Giver and focus on the gift and the next thing you know, I am seeking the gift. Of course, it is my fault when I take my eyes off the Lord. Not only am I sure that God is the Giver of all good things, I am also quite sure of my own sinfulness. I struggle. But this is why the Lord has given me the Holy Spirit, to help me stay on the right path, to keep my eyes on the Giver, to discipline my focus each day. It is not as if I don’t have everything I need to keep my eyes on the Lord, the author and perfecter of my faith, because I do. I have everything I need to overcome sin and death, my hangups, weaknesses, temptations, everything. He has cleared the way for me. He has done the work. He did just what He said. He has provided for all who seek Him first an abundant life.
I think this is my New Year’s resolution. When I am thinking about it, it is my everyday resolution. But this year, I am resolved to be more disciplined with the help of the Holy Spirit to keep my eyes on the Giver, to seek Him first, to push away temptations. The more successful I am at this, the Lord will take care of the rest.
What about you? Will you resolve to focus more, be more stringent in staying focused, put forth greater effort to push away temptations to focus on the good things in life instead of the Good God in Heaven? C’mon, let’s push forward into the Kingdom of Heaven and the abundant life Jesus literally died for. It’s a new year and a new opportunity to enjoy the abundant life God wants for His children. Shalom!
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. (NIV)
Heavenly Father, I want to thank You for preparing the way for me to find You. Truly, you are the Way. And thank you for being so kind and generous to me with all you have done. And I am amazed that You desire more for me than I can even imagine. Help me keep my eyes on You and let no vile thing steal away my attention. -Amen.