Wisdom and Doubt, Part 1
5If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
6But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.
7For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;
8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
Wisdom and doubt; two huge topics when thinking about our faith. Both have been the subject of much study and scholarship and yet James mentions them almost in the same breath as he begins his instruction about living out our lives with Jesus Christ.
There has never been a time in my life when I did not attend church and Sunday School. Somewhere along the way, one of my pastors or teachers taught me that if you ask for wisdom, God’s answer is always “yes”. Apparently the lesson was on James 1:5 that day, for indeed that is what the passage says. Ask for wisdom and God will give it to you! Since I’ve always liked a “yes”, I started praying for wisdom that day and still do today. Looking back over my life, I can’t say that I’m particularly wise, but I have to assume that God has given me the amount of wisdom of needed, because He said He would! My understanding of wisdom grew as I pondered the words of Proverbs where Solomon has much to say about godly wisdom.
1My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you,
2making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding;
3yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding,
4if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures,
5then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.
6For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
7he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
8guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints.
9Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path;
10for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
God instructs us as to just how to come by His type of wisdom. First, fear Him. That means to hold Him in awe and reverence with definite appreciation for His sovereign power over all that I am. That is where wisdom begins. Then, I am to be a willing student. Solomon gives us several activities in which to involve ourselves in order to appropriate godly wisdom:
1.Be attentive – press into to God and LISTEN. I love the words “inclining your heart”. When my kids pulled on my pant leg and demanded attention wanting to know something I usually answered. But honestly, sometimes it was very annoying. God is NEVER annoyed by my desire to know Him and to hear Him. I can pull on his pant leg all day long and He’s not going to tell me to go away. Instead, He’s going to give me the wisdom I ask for!
2.Call out for insight – Persistence is a character trait that is held in fairly high esteem in the Scripture. The text even goes so far as to say “raise your voice”. I love that! The person who does that is serious about getting what they need.
3.Seek – God tells us to seek Him and we will be rewarded with Him. That includes seeking His wisdom. That means to actually, actively look for God and His wisdom. He promises to be found for He is actually the One seeking us! When my almost 2 year old grandson plays “hide and seek” and it’s his turn to hide, he immediately jumps out of his hiding place when the seeker reaches the count of ten and runs to find that person. He’s not tough to find because he is actively looking for his playmate. God does the same! He wants us to find Him and receive His wisdom.
Obviously, we could go on and on about godly wisdom. For now, suffice it to say, God wants you to have it! Grab it!