By Jason Bowman
Knowledge can help us understand our circumstances, but wisdom can help us make right decisions in our circumstances. We need knowledge, but without wisdom, it is insufficient to lead us to a better life. In the Bible, we grow in wisdom as we gain experience in life, but the root of wisdom is the fear of the Lord. This is why a vital part of gaining wisdom is asking God.
How does that work? One way is simply to wake up in the morning and say to God: “Please grant me wisdom for this day.” Another way is when we come to a particular circumstance, we ask God for wisdom before we make a decision, and then we listen in faith for him to guide us. Finally, we can gain God’s wisdom from God’s word. The Bible reveals who God is and how God has ordered life. It can provide God’s wisdom when we ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten us as we read. This will take time to really think about what we read and to listen in faith for the Spirit to guide us.
Through this process James issues a warning. When we ask God for wisdom, we must do so in faith rather than in doubt. When we ask in doubt, we should not expect to receive wisdom from God. What does that mean? Do I have to have perfect faith to receive God’s wisdom? Absolutely not! If that were the case, none of us would receive wisdom from God. Faith and doubt are opposites, but not because faith is certain and doubt is uncertain. Rather, faith is committed and doubt is not.
When James refers to doubt, he says it is like “a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind” (1:6). Doubt equates to vacillating and indecisiveness while faith equates to singleness of heart and follow through. Asking in doubt means we might reject the wisdom of God because we do not like it, do not agree with it or perhaps it pushes us too far outside our comfort zone. It can also mean starting down one path, but then turning to another. Faith means that no matter how God leads, we plan on following and sticking it out. We might have some doubts, but we still chose to follow God despite our uncertainty. When we do that, James says we receive wisdom from God.
What situation in your life do you need God’s wisdom for right now? Take a few moments and ask God for wisdom. When you ask, set your heart to follow how God leads even if it is scary.
Considering opening up the Bible and asking the Holy Spirit to grant you wisdom. Be sure to take time to really think about the Scripture and listen to the Holy Spirit. Like with prayer, make a commitment to follow through as the Spirit leads.