Tuesday, October 5, 2010

James I - wisdom

So often I find myself praying to God for discernment, for an indication of which choice to make - for wisdom.

The first lesson on wisdom that James teaches us is that we should ask for it.
James 1:5 "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." James also tells us in this passage that when we ask for it, God not only can give us wisdom, but he wants to do so! He's only waiting for us to ask for it, and He can't wait to pour it out on us, to share his knowledge with us:
Matthew 7:7-12 "For everyone who asks, receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 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!"
We must know that God provides! His knowledge is something he craves to share with us, and when we receive it, we'll be better able to glorify Him.
Proverbs 2:2-5 "If you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding...then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God."

Proverbs 2:9-10 "Then you will understand what is right and just and fair - every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul."

So we must know that when we ask for wisdom, God provides it in abundance! The second lesson James teaches us, is that we need to believe that God will provide this wisdom when we ask for it - and that we need to authentically live this belief in our actions:

James 1:6-8 "But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does."

So praying to God for wisdom is not merely being revealed to this knowledge, but a commitment to obey what God reveals to you. The imagery of the sea changing directions because of the wind - it illustrates for us that we cannot ask for God's wisdom one day, and then follow the world's wisdom the next. We need to be grounded in our faith, and stand firm on our foundation of Christ.

Ephesians 4:14 "We will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in the deceitful scheming."

When God provides you wisdom... use it! Would you refuse or misuse a gift? "Wisdom is not just acquired information but practicing insight with spiritual applications". In other words, we cannot ask for wisdom, for help, and then refuse it. We must apply the wisdom gifted from God.

We can't just pray that God makes good choices for us, and that's what James 1:5 is about. God gives us the wisdom to choose between right and wrong, but He can't make the right choice for us. We must pray, ask God, for the wisdom to discern the good, Godly choice for us, even if following that choice means the trials and suffering outlined in James 1:2-4.

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