Wisdom. That’s a word I’ve been chewing on today, and it seems a very interesting and sometimes confusing concept. At first glance, having wisdom sounds great – who doesn’t want to be known as “wise”? But in our world today, you don’t hear many conversations about wisdom as I found defined in one place online as “the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting.” We talk about people who are smart and intelligent, but wise? We live in a land of self-help, quick fixes and instant gratification.
The concept of wisdom particularly struck me this morning as I read a devotion focused on the book of James:
“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. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” James 1:5-8 NIV
So let’s break the passage down. True wisdom – that ability to discern and judge what’s true, right and lasting – should come from God. He’s generous with granting us wisdom. Think of King Solomon, who asked for that wisdom and discernment and God freely granted it to him (along with many other blessings). And the passage says God will give it to those who ask him without finding fault. That’s a relief – because God could find plenty of fault with me.
But let me be honest – I don’t often pray and ask God for wisdom. I too easily default to my own brand of wisdom (that brand is definitely not true and lasting!). Rather, what I’m doing is trying to use my feeble life experiences to help me figure out what to do next, or depending on friends or family to give me insights on what to do. I rarely go directly to my heavenly Father to ask for that wisdom and discernment. That’s so funny, because it’s very clear from this passage that God is generous and he wants us to have a measure of his wisdom and discernment to help guide our lives and give us peace for our souls.
Why, oh why then, do I not just go directly to God to ask for wisdom on a daily basis? Maybe it’s because the rest of the passage in James hits too close to home. If I ask for wisdom, I have to ask God and I have to truly believe that he will grant it to me. If I doubt, I’m “double-minded” and like a wave tossed by the wind.
And that is the problem. I’m weak and can fall into the trap of leaning back on my own understanding or what equates to worldly understanding. But James doesn’t mince words – I MUST believe and not doubt. And that takes faith and trust. As humans, we let each other down, so it can be so very hard to have faith and trust in each other. But aren’t you glad that God never lets us down, ever? He knows the number of hairs on our heads, the struggles we go through each day and the desires of our own hearts. If I just turn over my own limited idea of controlling my own life and give him my complete trust, he’s ready and willing to bless me.
Just think of what you could do with that type of wisdom today. If I prayed for wisdom daily, I would be better equipped to be a godly mother to my kids to help guide them on the right path. I’d be a better, more patient spouse who could discern how I could be a better help to my husband. I would be a better employee who focused on what is true, right and lasting to do my work well for my employer.
I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of life I want – a life of wisdom. And that type of wisdom can be ours, sisters, if we just ask our Lord and believe. May God give you wisdom today!
– Jen Clark