“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” — James 1:5-6
Leading up to this “wisdom” passage, James is encouraging the Church to count every trial with all joy, know the Father who gives good gifts, and let perseverance finish its work in you. Now he’s telling us to ask God for wisdom. If you have any questions about faith, just ask God! He doesn’t want to leave us in the dark while building a Spirit of obedience within us.
So how do we acquire the wisdom God offers?
Embrace trials and testing: If God is allowing me to go through a time of testing, I know He’s saying to me, “LaMorris, there are some character issues I need you to get together.” Maybe it’s my attitude toward my wife, how I treat my children, or my obedience to share His Word with others. I’m so thankful He works in me to correct these things! But the disciplining doesn’t stop with my recognition of His work; I need to ask Him for wisdom to deal with these things. The good news is: God gives generously to all!
Welcome God’s discipline: God disciplines those He loves (Hebrews 12:6, Proverbs 3:12). It’s all part of God’s process of making you into His image. His working in us proves we are His children. If we’re not being challenged and pruned by God’s hand, we should ask ourselves if we’ve truly given ourselves to Him. God loves the whole world, but until a person becomes born again through Jesus Christ’s gift of grace, he’s not a child of God. But those who’ve given their lives to Christ have been adopted as sons and daughters of God, and are now under the disciplining hand of the Father.
Listen to His voice: God speaks to us through His Word. If you want to hear someone’s voice, you need to posture yourself in a position to listen. We can easily pray to God and then move on before we give Him space to speak back to us. When was the last time you sat in silence to hear the voice of God? Without picking up your phone, texting a friend or checking social media, when was the last time you practiced silence? We’re constantly being bombarded with billboards, messages, ads and noises to distract us from His presence. It’s through prayer, silently listening to God’s voice, and the studying of His Word that we find the wisdom He extends to us. Our Father wants to listen to you. He wants to speak to you. Give Him a chance to do so!
Obey His voice: Jesus Christ saved you just the way you were, but He doesn’t want you to stay that way. Christianity requires maturity. With whatever character issue or attitude God is trying to correct in you, He won’t stop teaching you until you change. He doesn’t skip grades. By grace our Father gives us opportunities to become more like Him. It doesn’t matter how we feel or what we desire in that moment. Jesus sweat drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane before He went to Calvary! Do you think that felt comfortable? Jesus was obedient even to the point of death! God is not asking many of us to go to that extreme. But for the true believer, change isn’t optional. As we trust and obey, we gain wisdom by experience.
“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” — John 8:31-32
We have been formed in His image. The least we can do is ask for the wisdom to reflect Him better. He’s longing to give it to you!
— LaMorris Crawford, Cincinnati Bengals chaplain
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