Preached at Straightway Bible Church on February 24th, 2013. Below you will find the study notes I handed out. God gives us a plain and clear promise we can have all the wisdom we want. Do you know how to get it?
(Click here to see the entire series of “The Book of James – Practical Faith”)
Here are the study notes:
James 1:5 Praying for Godly Wisdom
James 1:5 (NKJV) If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
How can true faith persevere? An attitude of joy; An understanding mind, a knowing mind; A submissive will; AND a believing and upright heart that is found via WISDOM
Your human mind cannot know God’s work through the trial… you have to ask God for supernatural, God-originated wisdom
- When you are facing the trial, you need WISDOM to know how to deal with the trial; how to endure; to see what God’s purpose; to know what to do; to deal with the problem
“If any of you lack wisdom….” That’s rhetorical… we all lack wisdom… the implication is we should all be asking for wisdom.
- In the Old Testament people had to go to the high priest directly to get wisdom. Jesus is now our high priest and that is why we are commanded to pray to get our wisdom.
- Godly wisdom has distinct characteristics: practical; divine; In harmony with Scripture; Christlike.
Job 28 – Wisdom should be as valuable as gold and silver, and we should put just as much effort into finding it and mining it
James 1:5 is maybe the single greatest, open ended, unconditional (unlimited if the conditions are met) and direct promise in all of Scripture given to Christians
Wisdom is: An understanding of what the trial is for and what the result will be; How can I have joy in this trial? How should I proceed? What is your purpose God? How should I respond?
Two conditions: 1) ask, 2) don’t doubt
- LET HIM ASK OF GOD – a command, an imperative… not a suggestion, a command… so that if you are not doing it, you are disobeying
- God could simply give us the wisdom, but he requires us to ask for it so that we recognized her need for it and we declare our understanding of where that wisdom is coming from
- Jeremiah 29:11–13 (NKJV) God wants to fill you with what you need; Matthew 7:7–11 (NKJV) Like a good earthly father, God gives good gifts when we ask (wisdom)
“who gives to all liberally and without reproach”
Gives: produce; allow; put; appoint; pay; deposit; cause; let experience… All: any; total; whole; every kind of… Liberally: generously, abundantly, freely, without bargaining, unconditionally if the conditions are met; Reproach: holding back nothing, without reservation , without insult, questioning, or any negative reaction
“and it will be given to him” – The promise is direct and sure, unambiguous and plain – IT WILL BE GIVEN
“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting” – IGNORANCE – lack of Scriptural knowledge… lack of wisdom from not asking up to then; POOR TEACHING – ear tickling preachers
- James is not casting dispersion on the person who occasionally has doubts but on the person who lives a life of doubt asking God for something that he doesn’t even believe God can or will do
- If we have asked God for wisdom but still don’t have it: Is it because we are doubting? Is it because we are praying for selfish reasons to “spend it on our own desires”?
How does God describe the doubter? Waves are driven by forces outside of them; No purpose, no direction, endlessly moving, never able to settle on something or be sure;
“Divided at the root of their being” – spiritual schizophrenic
That man will not receive anything from the Lord
James 1:2–8 (NKJV; with Brent’s amplification) 2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. [there is a purpose, reason and benefit for enduring the hardships and troubles of life] 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. [don’t avoid it, don’t try to rid yourself of trials; God’s purpose in them will take you closer to perfect spiritual maturity] 5 If any of you lacks wisdom [rhetorical, we all lack wisdom and need new wisdom for each new trial], let him ask of God [condition #1], who gives to all liberally and without reproach [unconditionally, generously; not begrudgingly, not reminding us how we don’t deserve it], and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting [condition #2], for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind [a spiritual schizophrenic, unstable]. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord [the person who lives in perpetual doubt questions God’s very nature and trustworthiness]; 8 he is a double-minded man [faces both ways, can’t be trusted], unstable in all his ways [not just in this one issue of lacking wisdom but it reveals the truth about their WHOLE life].
Questions: How does Godly wisdom differ from human wisdom? How do you know God has given you the wisdom? How do you know the wisdom is from God? Why don’t people have this wisdom? Why don’t they ask?