James 1:5-8 NLT
“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.”
What is wisdom? Wisdom is not about theoretical knowledge; it’s about knowledge and understanding that’s geared towards application and practical living; in particular, living a life that pleases God (Job 28:28; Proverbs 3:7; 16:16). Example: A person with a PhD might be very intelligent, but he might not be necessarily wise in God’s eyes, especially if he doesn’t know how to bear affliction and doesn’t know the way of salvation (Mark 8:36).
But in the context of James ch. 1, it is about obtaining divine wisdom to deal with trials. We don’t respond well to hardships. We need God to enlighten our hearts and minds so that we can see the good in our situation and trust him in the midst of our trials.
- WHY SHOULD WE ASK FOR WISDOM?
A) Because in and of ourselves we lack wisdom! (1 Corinthians 2:14; Proverbs 3:5; Job 42:1-3)
B) Because God is generous, especially in giving wisdom (Ephesians 1:3; 1 Timothy 6:17; Matthew 7:7-11; Romans 8:32; 1 Kings 3:5-13).
Let’s recognize our need for wisdom. Let’s learn to pray. Let’s trust in his generosity (Philippians 4:19).
- HOW SHOULD WE ASK FOR WISDOM?
A) In faith (verse 6)
- God is pleased with faith (Hebrews. 11:6).
- God answers believing prayer (Matthew 21:22; Mark 11:24; 1 John 5:14, 15).
B) Without doubting (verse 6)
- The man who doubts will be unsuccessful (verse 7). His prayer won’t be answered.
- The man who doubts is unstable (verse 8). He wavers between trusting in God and trusting in his own wits. He is a walking civil war. Example: King Saul (1Samuel 13:7-14)
We need to ask for wisdom if we are to navigate through life’s difficulties successfully. But we have to ask in faith, trusting that God will guide us, instead of relying on our own wits and resources (Proverbs 3:5-6). This applies above all to salvation. Many people think that by relying on their good works and trusting in themselves, they will be saved. But the Bible teaches that salvation is through Jesus Christ alone (John 14:6). He is the wisdom that we need in order to be saved from the greatest difficulty of all: sin and death (1 Corinthians 1:30-31). Ask him to come into your heart, believe in him with all your heart, and you will be saved (Revelation 3:20; John 1:12; Acts 16:31).
Do you have the wisdom that leads to salvation? (2 Timothy 3:15) Have you asked in faith for the Lord Jesus to come into your life and save you? (John 1:12)