In his epistle, James wrote, "Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers" (1:16). The next verse speaks to how we could easily deceive ourselves. James addresses a topic we must always keep in mind; everything good in our lives is a gift of God's grace to us.
James writes, "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" (1:17). This is a key verse that speaks to God's immutability, or His unchanging nature. He doesn't go through even the slightest or most minuscule change in nature. That should be a source of great joy to the Christian. It should also be a cause of terror to the one who refuses to repent of sin and wickedness.
The more relevant part of the verse I want to mention in this post is the fact of God's good and perfect gifts to us. The very term, "gift," speaks of grace. God gives good and perfect things. We do not earn them. We indeed cannot earn them. If God doesn't give grace, we will receive nothing but what we are owed. We are owed justice, and that would mean everlasting condemnation because we are sinners by nature. God is holy by nature and does not change, and He cannot change. The very fact that we are not in hell right now but enjoy life is a gift. All of the material, relational, spiritual, and all other types of blessings come to us as gifts.
James wants these Christians, "beloved brothers," to not become self-deceived by thinking God owes them anything. There is nothing any human can do to place God in debt. If God doesn't provide grace and mercy, all creation would be instantly consumed and condemned. He is reminding Christians here. This admonition is not to the unsaved!
However, because God is good, loving, gracious, and merciful, He extends good and perfect gifts through His Son. We do well to live in constant thanksgiving to Him and never think we earn or deserve anything.
This realization will help us avoid self-deception and live for the glory of God more because we call attention to His goodness.