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Need Wisdom?(James 1:5-6)

by Julia Bruce
CEO, Author, and Conference Speaker

Wisdom is needed in a year of uncertainty

Probably everyone would agree that 2020 has been a year like no other in our lifetime. We’ve faced more things this year than we would have ever thought to see. I’ve heard and seen where people are already putting up Christmas decorations — some to try to hurry this year along and hope for a better year next year and others to bring the joy of the holidays into a year full of uncertainty. Wherever there is uncertainty, we need wisdom to make that next step.

The best source of wisdom is our omniscient God

Since God created us, He knows everything about us. Our fears, our illnesses, the stress and anxiety we feel, as well as the things we celebrate. Because God is omniscient, there isn’t anything that happens in our world that He isn’t aware of. In fact, He knew COVID would happen in 2020 even when He was creating the Garden of Eden. So if we need to seek wisdom, God is the best place to go.

James’ words of wisdom

James, the half-brother of Jesus (typically considered the author of the book of James in the New Testament), wrote “Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who give to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without doubting.” (James 1:5-6). Regardless of what we face in life, we can pray for God to grant wisdom, knowledge, and understanding in every situation.

Seeking spiritual wisdom

Asking God for wisdom does not just apply to uncertain times. We can also ask God to help us understand a Biblical principle of which we can’t seem to quite grasp the full understanding. We can also ask God to help us as we try to learn a new task at work or when we need wisdom in making a major life decision, such as moving, taking a new job, or making a big purchase.

No matter what we seem to lack wisdom in, God tells us to ask him for it. After all, God is the one who created the universe and set everything into motion. If anyone understands the things we have a hard time grasping, it’s God. All the scientific laws may be named after the scientists that discovered them, but they did not create the those laws….God did when he created the world. So why not go to the One who knows it better than anyone else? He is the one who can open our minds and help us see something we didn’t see before or to clear out the confusing thoughts so that we can grasp what’s true.  He the one who can give us ears to hear as things are explained to us in a way that understanding breaks through.

God gives wisdom generously

James also tells us in this verse that God gives wisdom generously. Liberally. He is a big-hearted God and he stands by ready to grant us the wisdom we need. However, the key is to first recognize the need and then to ask God for it. The Greek word for “liberally” is haploos and it means “bountifully” (Strong’s Concordance). So when we ask, He doesn’t just measure it by teaspoon fulls. He dumps it on…as much as we need for the purpose we are asking.

God gives wisdom without criticizing

God doesn’t just give us wisdom generously, but he also does it without criticizing. When I was in school, I was one of the shy kids and would have never raised my hand and asked a question because I didn’t want to look dumb to the other students in the class. I’m not shy like that anymore, but I am still glad that God does not criticize when I ask him for help to understand something. He doesn’t roll His eyes in exasperation. There is no long, drawn out sigh of frustration. Instead, He is the loving father who created us and already knows the limited capabilities of our minds. He’s like the parent who’s child is trying to learn to read and the parent picks the child up and sets her in his lap and helps her sound out each sound and put them together until she can read the word on her own. Then He celebrates with us when that “ah-ha” moment comes and we “get it.”

When we ask God for wisdom, we will receive it

James also tells us that when we ask for wisdom, we will receive it. There is no “maybe” or “if God isn’t busy with something else” or “He’ll think about it and get back to us next week.” No. When we ask for wisdom, God will give it. Because we know that God keeps his promises and He will do what He says He will do, we can ask in confidence, with faith. There is no need to doubt. Psalm 5:3 tells us that God hears our voice as we plead our case to Him and then we are to watch expectantly.

What do you need wisdom for? Go ahead and ask God to give it you, then expect Him to give it to you. He is a God who loves to generously give us good gifts.

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