Wisdom: A Promise With a Condition

Christians know that God’s love for us is unconditional. However, many of His promises in Scripture are not. Some promises come with a condition. One of those is found in James, chapter one.

The brother of Jesus explains how endurance through trials will bring forth a perfect result – that being we lack nothing.

Then in verse five, James adds a contrast: “But, if any of you lacks …”

The Problem of Lack

Some of us may indeed LACK something, and that something is WISDOM.

We learn what the meaning of wisdom is when we tap on the word, taking us to the dictionary. We see the Greek translation of wisdom is actually a beautiful word given as a name to girls: sophia. It can mean worldy or spiritual skill, tact or expertise.

In this particular verse, James uses it to mean “divine wisdom, the ability to regulate one’s relationship with God.”

So, even when our trials and testings work to make us complete, we may still lack all of the wisdom we need to relate well to God, to love Him well, to understand and submit to His perfect will.

Ask God for Wisdom

How Do We Get Wisdom?

God’s Word tells us what to do if we need wisdom? ASK FOR IT!

“But, if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

As I LOOK at James 1:5 and LEARN more from the words in this verse, I realize it’s not the first place in the Bible where I’ve heard God’s children ask for wisdom. So to expand my understanding, I let Scripture teach me about Scripture and I go to the cross references. Here is what I find:

Solomon was told he could ask God for ANYTHING, and he asked for wisdom (2 Chronicles 1: 7-13). God was pleased with Solomon’s request and granted it to him.

Many other verses found in the “LOOK: Cross Reference” section explain more about God’s wisdom and what we should do if we need it.

The Fine Print

What the Holy Spirit impressed on my heart in this passage had more to do with the condition surrounding our receiving wisdom.

In verses six and seven, James adds this condition with another “But.”  

“But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord.”

Faith without doubts. That’s a tall order!

James likens faith here to the kind of confidence a child has in a parent.

While to doubt means to be in strife with oneself; to hesitate; to waiver.

The Holy Spirit convicts me here. For if I’m doubting, hesitating, or wavering between my confidence in God as my Father, and the pull of worldly forms of wisdom or certainty, than I’m double-minded.

God’s word says if that’s me, then I’m unstable in ALL my ways and shouldn’t expect God to give me anything, much less, wisdom.

If you are asking for wisdom, you might make this your prayer:

Oh Father, I want to stand on the certainty of YOU and your promises. I want to receive the free gift of your wisdom. But I know in order to receive, I must not doubt. If I’ve been double-minded Lord, I confess and repent and turn to you with my whole heart, and all of my faith and trust.

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