Monday, June 22, 2020

“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.” —James 1:17-18

The God of the Bible—the Father of the Son, Jesus Christ—is a gift-giving Father. The motivating attribute of God that we see throughout the scriptures is that God desires for human beings and all of creation to thrive. In God’s view of the world, things are good when life is marked by health, joy, peace, justice, and love.

It’s worth remembering that God is free. We have no inherent standing to demand anything of God. God is free to create and design and order and interact with the world in any way he chooses. We cannot bind God’s freedom in any way.

So it is in absolute freedom that God chooses to be the God he is. God chooses to long for human thriving. God chooses to be with us in our suffering, to motivate us toward compassion and justice, to give us everything we need.

God in Christ, in absolute freedom, even chose to personally suffer for us to accomplish for us what we could not accomplish for ourselves. God chose to bind himself to humanity, giving us the gift of his very self.

It is when we in turn act with generosity, using the gifts we’ve been given to give good gifts to others, that we truly reflect the image of God to one another. God entrusts us with gifts and gives us freedom to use them (or not use them) as we please. But when we fail to use our gifts for the sake of others’ well-being, we destroy the image of God within ourselves. When we see what we’ve been given as gifts to grasp and hoard, rather than as gifts to be given away, we are alienated from ourselves.

The good news is that it is not all that complicated to be a part of God’s family. Our Father’s family is marked by receiving what he has given and in turn being generous givers to others. And these others, at the same time, are receiving gifts from our Father and being generous givers to others (which includes us). This is our family work. When we bear fruit in this way, we are a manifestation of God’s good creation. It’s simple good news that you can put to use, right now!

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