in Faith

Nobody wants a knockoff for Christmas. Well, perhaps some of us wouldn’t mind a counterfeit product, but we wouldn’t want to be told it was the real thing. The biblical Letter of James reminds us that our natural bent is to accept what is counterfeit as genuine. We do things that we think are good, but they end up hurting us. Deep down, we may be aware that what we are doing isn’t right. We think, “I have  a special deal with God.” But God never changes. He wants to give us the real thing, not a counterfeit.

Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.—James 1:16–17

God is the source of everything that is good for us. The reason some of us turn away from God’s plan for our lives is that we doubt his goodness. We choose our own methods to find fulfillment, pleasure, and money instead of relying on God to give us what we need. God alone knows exactly what we need, and he never fails to care for those who trust in him.

Abraham knew that God had promised him a son by his wife Sarai. After waiting for about 10 years, he took matters into his own hands and had a child with his wife’s servant. (See Genesis 16.) Ten years is a long time to wait for God to do what he has promised. All of us should understand Abraham’s predicament. Yet, even in this case, Abraham preferred a counterfeit over the genuine. God had spoken, and God would fulfill his word. It took about 15 more years, but Sarai did bear a son to Abraham.

Jacob, Abraham’s grandson, made many mistakes. But his mistakes taught him that God is the only source of real blessing. In Genesis 32, we find Jacob in a crisis. His brother Esau hated him and had sworn to kill him on sight, but Jacob was returning home to face his enemy. As he spent time alone in prayer, a “man” confronted him. They wrestled all night. Given the context, some theologians believe this “man” is an appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ—also referred to as a Christophany. As night came to an end, Jacob held on to God in desperation pleading for a blessing.

Then he said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”—Genesis 32:26

If you are a Christian, it is time to settle this fact in your heart. The only way to receive lasting blessings is to trust God for them. Don’t run ahead of his plan for you. Trust him to give you real fulfillment, pleasure, and wealth. Don’t disregard his plans for you as revealed in the Bible.