“Every good and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
In a devotional this morning, these words stirred my heart with some thoughts I’ve been pondering for some time now:
“Like the Israelites, we also choose to live out from God’s protective umbrella, and as He did in the time of the Israelites, God waits patiently for us to return to Him. When you exercise your free will – a gift from God Himself – freely choose Him. He loves you and wants to bless your life more than you can imagine.”
I’d like us to pause for a moment to dwell on this. We have been given free will. With it, we can step away from the path God directs us to take. We can choose to ignore His commands and do what we prefer or what makes sense. But those choices bring us out from His protection. They limit our experience of His love. Ignoring His direction and commands, in big choices or in small, everyday moments and conversations, causes us to miss out on His blessings. We miss out on Him.
Our God is good. He is so very good to us. He is kind and compassionate and present with us. He understands what we are going through, and when His commandments and directions become difficult or painful, if they go against what society or others tell us is right or true, He knows exactly what following Him will cost us. He is not uncaring. His heart breaks with ours when we walk these painful paths with Him. But He longs for us to follow Him, to trust Him in obedience, because the outcome is worth it – and following another path would not be.
The God who declared in Malachi 3:10, “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need,” is the same God who is leading your days and directing your steps. As the verse above in James 1 highlights, our God does not change. There is not one variation, not one shadow that would indicate a shaken hope or changed foundation for us.
The verse in Malachi isn’t about us having an aim to get things from the Lord; it’s about faith. Do we trust Him? Do I trust that He is good, that He has plans and purposes for His glory, plans that will get me – and others – more of Him and result in beautifully fulfilling joy? Do I trust that He will provide all I need when I open up my hands, release my hold, and obey Him, as Malachi 3:10 indicates? Do I trust that He loves me? Do you?
My mind is stirring with more verses:
“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
“Which one of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:9-11
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:31-32
The last set of verses captures the greatest point, does it not? A call to remember the greatest example of God’s love for us: the sacrifice of His Son, who lived among us to show us the way to the Father, willingly took our place through an agonizing death, and rose again in victorious power so all who would believe in Him could live abundantly with Him forever, free from sin, darkness, and fear.
Abundant life. Freedom. Light. Joy. Peace. Beloved children of a great, mighty heavenly Father, a Father whose very essence is love. One who reigns in justice, righteousness, and glory.
Believer, He surrounds you with favor as with a shield (Psalm 5:12). Trust Him. Follow Him without holding back, without fear. He is good, He is sovereign, and He will not let you down.
To one who has not yet believed, know that Jesus is beckoning you to Himself. It isn’t about what you bring to the table; it is about what He has done for you out of great love and with great power. The God who created you did so with purpose and love and is drawing you to Himself so you can know what it is to be filled with His fullness and experience the wonder of being fully known and unwaveringly, fully loved by a Father who will never leave, never forget, and never stop giving to you through His goodness and wonderful grace. Don’t waste another day outside of the abundant life, peace, and joy He has for you. Waiting isn’t worth it. Jesus absolutely is.