Hi friend! Welcome to episode 14 of Tending Your Soul Podcast. I’m Mariel and I’m so glad you are joining me in the garden. We are tending our soul by the word of God and going through the book of James together.
Today we are in James 1:16-18.
When I sit down with the Lord in the morning, I use my TEND method to unfold the truths of a verse or two and it helps me to slow down and lean into the treasures there and how I can walk that out in my life as I respond to God’s Word.
The 1st letter in TEND is T which is to remind us to take time to pray. So let’s go to God in prayer.
Lord, thank you that you invite us to draw near to you in your word. Would speak now as we lean in and listen with our whole heart? Amen.
After we take time to pray, then we Examine the scripture. So as I mentioned the next verses in tending through James 1 are verses 16-18.
These verses say:
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 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. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creation.
As we examine these verses we want to pay attention to the details here and also consider how these words would land with James’ original audience.
The original hearers of these words would know that the firstfruits were the portion of an offering that was offered to God.
So in this passage we see that we, the believers surrendered to God are an offering to God. This wording reminds me of Romans 12:1-2 which urges us to be be living sacrifices to God.
At the time, sacrifices were killed on the alter in order to pay for the debt sin had left in a life. But these sacrifices had to be continually repeated because sin was constant in the life and heart of a sinner.
Since we are all born sinners, we are all in desperate need of a sacrifice to pay the price for our sin. That is why God sent Jesus, the Son of God fully man, fully God to die as our sacrifice to pay the price once for all for the sin of those who would place faith in Him.
This verse is telling us that we are to live as an offering, a sacrifice to God.
When I tend through a verse that uses words like every and all, I circle those and pay special attention. Because there are not a lot of things we can count on every time or all the things, in this shifty world.
In this verses we see though that EVERY good and EVERY perfect gift is from above and that is worth paying attention to.
Another absolute here is that with Him, the Father of lights as James calls Him here, there is NO variation or shadow. There is no darkness in Him, the father of lights, only light and good gifts.
So when we move from Examining the verses to Notice the lessons, we ask what is teaching about God and what lessons is it teaching about us?
As I mentioned we see God is the Father of lights, but He is also the one with zero darkness. He is the only one who has absolutely NO variation or even shadow. He is light, the father and head authority of light.
Then in these verses we also see that we are gifted with good and perfect gifts from our father God. So if we are not feeling gifted and loved by God it might be because we’re not paying attention to the gifts He is holding out to us.
In order to respond to the lesson, I turn it into a question of how.
So then, if we are gifted with good and perfect gifts from God, then HOW might I pay better attention to notice those gifts around me today?
And if we are to live as an offering to God because of our surrender to Jesus who gave Himself for us, then HOW might I live surrendering my thoughts, words, and actions to Him today?
It can be easy to just live our mundane lives with blinders on. Somedays it feels necessary for survival. But the reality is, we who are His are well loved, gifted and saved. The father of lights is holding out good and perfect gifts of grace to those who love Him. How might we take notice today?
To do what this verse says then is to respond with gratitude. When I write down the gifts I notice around me, I tend then to notice more of them. I tend then to overflow with gratitude rather than complaining. When I pay attention to the warmth of the sun on my skin, the smell of the rose blooming by my porch or the taste of sweet watermelon and I recognize they are a good gift from the Father of lights personally for me, then I give thanks and tether my heart deeper into truth.
What about you today? How might you notice the good gifts and the perfect gifts God has held out around you? In what ways is the Father of lights shining personally as He draws you near?
Pause even now. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Now open your eyes and notice the gifts.
Is there a kindness from someone, a cool drink of water, a pretty candle, even the ability to take the breath…all are gifts, good gifts for you.
Let’s ask the father of lights to continue to open our eyes today to His goodness and nearness.
Dear father of lights, would you shine the light of your nearness and open my eyes to the good and perfect gifts you have for me? Slow me down today and help me to pay attention, take you personally and give thanks when I do. In your generous and good name, amen.
As you begin noticing God’s gifts this week, I encourage you to write them down. Start a gratitude journal and make a note of each gift to thank God for. This is a great practice to do in your time with the Lord each day. I have a booklet with other easy rhythms to include in your time with the Lord.
If you’d like to get this free booklet called Tools for Tending Your Soul, you can get it at marieldavenport.com/start and I also have a resource journal that might serve you well in your time with Jesus called Tending through the Word that is available on Amazon.
Until next time, friend, keep tending your soul by the Word.