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The Epistle of James - Godly Values

Part 3 - Praying for wisdom

30th March 2018

After teaching us about the vital importance of trials in God's work of maturing us, the next thing James says is:

James 1:5
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

There are two reasons why James teaches us to pray for wisdom immediately after what he told us about trials.

  • Firstly, we really can't accept that it make sense to "count it pure joy... when you experience trials of many kinds" (verse 2) and believe that the trials we endure are doing us good, unless we have God's wisdom. A non-Christian has no reason to believe that his trials are gifts from God, and an immature Christian finds it very difficult.
  • Secondly, when we're in great pain, whether emotional, physical or of any other kind, we need wisdom to know how to live while we're enduring that pain.

It's so easy to turn our back on God, or on the church, or on the scriptures, or on holiness, and say, "I'm so sorry for myself that I'm going to do what I feel like doing, rather than live God's way."

All the trials that come are only good for us if we respond to them in the right way. For example, if someone were to hit you in the face, godly wisdom is to forgive him and pray for him. The human way to respond is to hit him back. To respond in a godly way will cause us to grow in God but the human response will cause us to fall back.

We need God's wisdom when were suffering, even more than when we're not. We need God's wisdom so that our trials will do us good, not harm, so that they make us a better Christian, not a worse one. We always have the choice to live according to worldly values or godly values. And sometimes the worldly approach seems much better to us, because we're not perfected in love and wisdom yet. So we pray for wisdom.

And when we pray for wisdom, we can be assured that God gives generously (or singlemindedly) to all without finding fault. Praise God! And if anybody asks God for wisdom it will be given to him.

God is generous. He single-mindedly wants to bless you. It's just that His concept of blessing and yours aren't the same. We tend to think that wealth and comfort would be blessings. God thinks that trials are blessings. Will we trust His judgement or our own? Godly reasoning is not like human reasoning.

Isaiah 55:8-9
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."

God gives generously. If you ask for wisdom, God will make you wise. He gives you the holy scriptures. He gives you the Holy Spirit. He gives you pastors and Christian friends. And He gives you trials. They're all given to make you wise.

I don't wish to belittle trials, but they are God-given. May God give you grace and wisdom to trust Him in the mist of your trials. They will come.