Tuesday, September 06, 2016

For wisdom seekers

TODAY'S SPECIAL: James 1:1-18

TO CHEW ON: "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given him." James 1:5

If you're like me you know this verse, have it memorized, and claim it often as you go through life. Let's take a close look at its various parts.

Wisdom is the thing we feel we lack and are after here. My Bible commenter explains this request in the context of the book of James:

"The wisdom which may be had by asking 'in faith' is not intellectual knowledge or philosophical speculation but spiritual understanding of the purpose of trials" - John Mark Ruthven, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible notes on James, p. 1751.

Personally I have claimed this promise as one that encompasses more than only the understanding of trials. The meaning of wisdom gives us an idea of its scope:

[Wisdom - sophia  means "practical wisdom, prudence, skill, comprehensive insight, Christian enlightenment, insight into the true nature of things" - Dick Mills,  Word Wealth, NSFLB, p. 1501.]

I love that: "insight into the true nature of things." That is what we need and what we're after, isn't it? And God promises to give it without reproach.

[Reproach - oneidizo has evolved, according to my Bible's WW writer, from meaning to act in an immature way as youngsters tease and taunt each other to include all of general mocking, ridicule, scolds, insults, and using words angrily or sarcastically.]

James is telling us here that God doesn't do that. He doesn't throw our requests for wisdom back in our faces with sarcasm, scolding and insults for needing to ask Him again and again, even after all He's taken us through. Instead, He gives this wisdom lavishly and generously.

But the next verses (James 1:6-7) remind us that after we've asked, we must follow through with faith in the answer. To me this means:
  • refraining from placing fleece after fleece before God as a way to confirm His answer.
  • not doubting today what I was sure God was saying yesterday.
Sounds easy, but it's way harder than it sounds. (My journals are testament to how often I've let myself be "sea-driven and tossed by the wind.")

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to go to You for wisdom and to trust the answers You give by acting on them instead of doubting, vacillating and asking for confirmation. Amen.

MORE: Praying faith in action

"Are we really convinced God answers prayer? Why do many travel life's journey uttering prayers but doubting answers? Picture Joshua, an Old Testament hero of faith. He, one of twelve commissioned by Moses to survey the promised land, brought a positive report. Ten came crying, 'There are giants in the land ... we cannot seize it.' Joshua, however, is one of two taking the positive approach....

Jericho is an excellent example of how prayer and faith combined remove an otherwise impenetrable barrier. In
prayer Joshua received God's battle plan promising victory over Israel's enemy. In faith Joshua led Israel around towering walls, mentally visualizing every stone tumbling to the ground. Here is praying faith in action" - Dick Eastman, No Easy Road, pp. 27, 28 (from the three-book volume, Dick Eastman on Prayer).
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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