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

James 1: 5

 

This thought makes me wonder about the times in which James lived. Was there more wisdom afoot then than there is now? You see, to me there just isn’t much of that great and Godly commodity visible in our world today. I don’t think that this is the result of my just hanging out in the wrong company or on the bad streets of my town, either. This unwise nature and function of people in general today is the product of deliberate choices that we have made. Unfortunately, lack of wisdom tends to inform the unwise, and the unwise frequently become the information experts for people who lack Godly wisdom themselves. This process of the clueless being counseled by the unwise isn’t just circular in nature, either; rather, it established a path of declension that heads ever further away from the truth.

 

The good news in all of this is that this downward path is changeable. Like a pilot is trained to take corrective actions when the plane is heading dangerously toward the ground, there are things that each of us can do to change the way that we are processing and responding to our world. Getting back to James and his statement, I think that he was posing a rhetorical question here in that I sincerely doubt that he was seeing all that much wisdom or that many wise people in his neighborhood either. The “if” refers to everyone in his day, and it calls me out and everyone else around me today. This is our problem as fallen people who live in a broken world. We lack God’s wisdom, and we don’t always realize just how much we are missing because of this state of being.

 

Yet, like that well trained pilot, we don’t need to crash and burn. We can do what our old friend James suggests here and seek out God and His wisdom of life. The Lord has placed it right before our eyes, and He has granted His presence in us and in our world to illuminate, illustrate, and explain His truths to us. We can read God’s Word on a very regular basis, and we can meditate and contemplate on what He is saying to each of us as we do this reading. The Spirit does speak and He will bring the eternal word of life into meaningful context for all that we are facing in the days to come in our world. As the old expression goes, in our relationships with God, “There are no dumb questions.” The Lord hears our doubts, concerns, and pleas, and He does answer them with the sort of wise truth that transforms our approach to life and that brings the order of Christ into our days so that we can give a touch of reason to the unwise environment around our doors.

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

James 1:5

 

One of the most common jokes in our society involves men and asking for directions. The reason that it is so common and also the reason that it is so funny is that almost everyone can relate an actual event when one of us men managed to get hopelessly lost while we were literally surrounded by potential direction givers. Every teacher and every seminar leader knows that they will need to implore their audiences to ask questions, it doesn’t matter whether the listener’s grade depends on the understanding or whether they have paid handsomely for the knowledge. We people are arrogantly stubborn, and this is especially true when our egos are on the line.

 

When James says, “If”, he is posing a rhetorical question, for there is no person who does not lack wisdom. Wisdom, the very essence of wisdom, starts with God, and it resides with God. This understanding of how to live life, these life-success skills, are not held tightly; for, the Lord tells us that He desires with his parent’s heart to share them totally. Yet, God does not waste wisdom on deaf ears. He wants us to realize our need, to focus our request, and to ask Him specifically for the skills and the understanding that we require. This is where the relationship with our Lord is very special, for He not only possesses all the wisdom that we need, but, unlike an encyclopedia, Wikipedia, or even a really good How-To-Do-It book, God will enter into life with us. When we seek wisdom from God, we get a partner in the implementation of what we learn. We also get all of the updates, add-ons, new versions and enhancements. We are in a relationship with the One who will make every twist and turn in life work out for our good.

 

Back to human nature. If we consider the benefit that we derive from asking God for the wisdom that we all need to live well each day, why don’t we do it, why don’t we consistently and passionately pursue His wisdom throughout every day? The answer is probably the same as the reasons that we don’t ask for directions or pose other needed questions, we are stubborn and our egos are both over sized and very fragile. This is why James directs us to two of God’s attributes. He is a very generous giver, and He never tells us that our requests are dumb or silly. In fact, God’s heart is warmed, He is delighted, by our turning to Him; for, when we realize our need for wisdom, we are not showing weakness; rather, we are demonstrating maturity.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

James 1: 5

 

There is almost a note of challenge in this “if” expression, for should I answer that I have it all, in other words that my wisdom vial is all filled up, thank you anyway, then I am probably labeling myself as a fool. For most people realize that absolute and total wisdom belongs to God alone. This thought also causes me to consider if I have all the wisdom that I need for what I am doing and have going on in my life at this moment. Again, the Lord is quick to show me how little of life I truly get and how much of a difference His grasp on matters can make in my success and in the real quality of my life.

 

The way that God hands out His wisdom and leads me to the understanding of life that comes out of it is one of the most special aspects of knowing Him. The Lord isn’t like most people and He certainly isn’t like me, for we tend to make a big deal out of sharing our special insights and leading others to the profound truths of the universe that are stored away in our brains. People become overbearing, condescending, and seek to gain an advantage over others through the use and the manipulation of knowledge. Yet, all of these anti relational ways of interacting with others are unwise from God’s perspective. In contrast, God holds out His hand and says that here is a gift. Let me bless your day with all that you need to serve Me well and to bring My presence into the lives of others.

 

As for myself, and I speculate that this is true for all of us, I can change the conditional “if” of this verse into an absolute “when”, and I need to add that the time for my need for God’s wisdom is always. The Lord grants me total access to His understanding of every situation, circumstance, and condition that I encounter in my day. Also, God uses this learning process as a way of showing me what righteousness looks like; thus, He brings me closer to Him through it all. When I seek God’s wisdom, I am opening up myself to the wondrous, transformational, and restorative work that He desires to do in my heart and in my mind.