Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1: 17
“I’m a bad person,” my son Dylan is in the habit of saying when he gets reprimanded and disciplined for misbehaving. Our reply usually is something like: “well, you are not a bad person. You just need to be better at listening and obeying,” but then we would add: “besides, no one is good…we are all bad, really. That’s why we need Jesus!”
Sometimes we think we get disciplined by God because we are bad people. It is far from the truth, however, for we know very well that disciplining is a sign of belonging and ultimately, a sign of love. As a parent, I care to discipline my sons because I want them to grow up knowing right from wrong, and to practice the golden rule. I really don’t care enough to invest the time it takes to discipline children who are not my own. Only a loving parent goes through the painstaking effort of disciplining his offspring. Though unpleasant, likewise our Heavenly Father shows us that we belong to Him and that He loves us by keeping a tight rein on us.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Hebrews 12: 11
On the other hand, we may also be under the impression that we might have gotten good things because we were good. The truth is that when it comes to our walk with God, this is another misconception.
Our Heavenly Father is the Giver of all good things and it has nothing to do with the receivers. No one is good, not even one…(Psalm 53: 3) so no one deserves anything good. Again, it is not about the receiver. It is all about the Giver. He is Good (Psalm 100: 5). Therefore, He cannot help but giving us the abundant life according to His plan, His timing and His design.
This Holy Monday I want to celebrate the fact that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us so much that He takes the time to care for us in a way that would refine our soul…even if by fire. He knows exactly what each of us needs to learn in the area of character development, and He teaches us customized lessons to help us attain such knowledge. I also celebrate the fact that regardless of whom I am and what I do, as a child of the Most High, I am not to be surprised to receive generously from the bounty of His goodness because it does not depend on me… I don’t receive good things because I am good. I receive them because He is Good!
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
Matthew 7: 11