Every good gift 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 creatures. (Jas 1:17-18 ESV)
As God finished each day of creation, the text says that his creation was “good” and when finished, the whole thing was “very good”. When we think of the gifts that people give to other people, sometimes those gifts are not so good. Sometimes they are inadequate and sometimes not appropriate to the person who is recieving the gift.
However, God gives us good gifts, things that are necessary and adequate for us. He meets our needs, not always our wants. Sure, we may not have as much as we think we need but when we serve God, even if we were to die of hunger, there is a feast waiting. The struggle we have oftentimes is to trust God and wait for him.
James has just told his readers not to attribute to God bad things (temptations) and here he reminds them why: God doesn’t give us bad things! In fact, contrast HIS WILL with OUR WILL and you see a big difference. When left to our will, we bring forth all sorts of hurts, lusts, desires that come from our heart. These are not good gifts for the benefit of others but, rather for our own benefit. (Wait till we get to chapter four!)
However, God not only provides for us the things that give us life in this world (food and clothing with which we should be content 1 Tim. 6:8), he provided us the greatest gifts from above that will give us life in the world to come: first, in the person of Jesus who modeled His will, and second, in the person of the Holy Spirit who reminds us of his will, having first inspired the Apostles to write it down for us and second by dwelling in us.
The heart is the source of a person’s quality and character. When you look at how God choose to manifest HIS desires, qualities and characters, we see that it resulted in bringing us forth through the word of truth. By obedience to the Gospel (the word of truth), we are born again.
We are now a kind of firstfruits. Certainly that would be more true of the Christians to whom James was writing but it is also true of us. Much can be said about the firstfruits but one thing is certain: If there are firstfruits, there will be secondfruits. We not only have the joy of being brought forth by God’s word but we have the opportunity to be the source of spreading that same word to have others brought forth too. If only we would not try to do our own will.
James will have more to say about how to mold our will to His next.