Today’s message summary of August 20, 2017 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:
Today, we will discuss what it is to pray for wisdom.
Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.
James was speaking to Jewish Christians who were spread throughout the Roman Empire. These Christians were experiencing various trials. It was written sometime between 40-50 A.D. At that time there was a restriction of travel by Christians to Alexandria by the emperor Claudius in 40 A.D. Another James, who led the church, was murdered around 44 A.D by King Herod. There was a famine in Jerusalem around 46 A.D., which caused a severe shortage of food. These Christians faced political trials, persecution and anxiety.
James was writing to these Christians who faced trials, and there are trials that many believers experience today. He reminded the believers that they were to look to God in the midst of these and other trials in order to obtain God’s wisdom.
We will look at these four aspects of wisdom:
- The Invitation of Wisdom
- The Explanation of Wisdom
- The Application of Wisdom
- The Gift of Wisdom
Before James 1:5, the verses that precede it set the tone for the seeking of God’s wisdom:
Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.
James is speaking to new believers who desire to use self-control in the midst of difficulty. It challenges believers to ask God for wisdom in those areas where one is struggling. We are invited to seek after His wisdom.
The Invitation of Wisdom
My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
listening closely to wisdom
and directing your heart to understanding;
furthermore, if you call out to insight
and lift your voice to understanding,
if you seek it like silver
and search for it like hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and discover the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He stores up success for the upright;
He is a shield for those who live with integrity
so that he may guard the paths of justice
and protect the way of his faithful followers.
Then you will understand righteousness, justice,
and integrity—every good path.
For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will delight you.
The Explanation of Wisdom
Wisdom is not just intellectual knowledge. There are many intellectuals in this world that still lack wisdom. They may have high IQs and great knowledge, but when it comes down to wisdom, it means that there has to be a rational thought.
We should not be surprised when we hear things that are foolish that come from these intellectuals. One of the most foolish things that a person can do is to fail to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Wisdom is the by-product of God’s attributes and His laws. Wisdom reveals the very nature of God, and by seeking after Him, He will reveal it to you. The personification of wisdom is Jesus Christ.
Doesn’t wisdom call out?
Doesn’t understanding make her voice heard?
At the heights overlooking the road,
at the crossroads, she takes her stand.
Beside the gates leading into the city,
at the main entrance, she cries out:
“People, I call out to you;
my cry is to the children of Adam.
Learn to be shrewd, you who are inexperienced;
develop common sense, you who are foolish.
Listen, for I speak of noble things,
and what my lips say is right.
For my mouth tells the truth,
and wickedness is detestable to my lips.
All the words from my mouth are righteous;
none of them are deceptive or perverse.
All of them are clear to the perceptive,
and right to those who discover knowledge.
Accept my instruction instead of silver,
and knowledge rather than pure gold.
For wisdom is better than jewels,
and nothing desirable can equal it.
I, wisdom, share a home with shrewdness
and have knowledge and discretion.
To fear the Lord is to hate evil.
I hate arrogant pride, evil conduct,
and perverse speech.
I possess good advice and sound wisdom;
I have understanding and strength.
It is by me that kings reign
and rulers enact just law;
by me, princes lead,
as do nobles and all righteous judges.
I love those who love me,
and those who search for me find me.
With me are riches and honor,
lasting wealth and righteousness.
My fruit is better than solid gold,
and my harvest than pure silver.
I walk in the ways of righteousness,
along the paths of justice,
giving wealth as an inheritance to those who love me,
and filling their treasuries.
Note what verse 17 in Proverbs 8 about wisdom:
I love those who love me, and those who search for me find me.
“The one who has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. And the one who loves me will be loved by my Father. I also will love him and will reveal myself to him.”
The Application of Wisdom
How do we apply this wisdom? It starts with asking God. It is wise to seek wisdom from those who are following Christ, and not from those who are not following Him. Applying wisdom is acknowledging the authority that God has in your life.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own understanding;
in all your ways know him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Don’t be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
Whenever you choose not to ask for wisdom from God, it shows a lack of fear or reverence for Him.
We apply wisdom about asking God within a situation we are going through, and we seek after His presence. We are to seek His Word and listen for His voice.
The Gift of Wisdom
God will give it to you and not hold anything back.
God grants wisdom without any regret. He desires to give it to you and to help you understand what is going on.
Wisdom is a gift that helps you and also challenges you to remain faithful through the process. His wisdom will help you in faith.
But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord, being double-minded and unstable in all his ways.
God desires to give us wisdom. He desires to give us wisdom in prayer. Meditate on His Word. Recite it to yourself within your prayer. He will answer and give you what you need.