“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5
Let’s all be honest for a moment with ourselves.
We all lack wisdom.
Yes, you may have been valedictorian in your high school class, graduated summa cum laude from college, or you’re a rocket scientist, but there are times in your life when you don’t make the wisest of choices. There are times in your life when you just flat out miss the mark or mess up. It’s inevitable. We are human and humans lack wisdom.
There have been plenty of times when I definitely have been lacking in wisdom. My mouth spews forth a hurtful word before my brain can stop it…not wise. My patience wears really thin and I lose my temper…not wise. I gossip about someone…not wise. I complain instead of being thankful…not wise. I give in to peer pressure…not wise. I frivolously spend my money on things for myself or my family that we do not need…not wise. I am quick to defend my actions instead of looking internally first to see if I am the one that needs to change…not wise. I give in to temptation and eat unhealthy foods that are not good for my body…not wise. I yell back at the annoying man at the soccer game when I should have kept my mouth shut…not wise. So many times in my day that I do not make wise choices.
But, friends, there is a way to change that. We can pray and ask God for wisdom.
Why would God give us wisdom, especially when we mess up so many times? Because, as James 1:5 says, “God gives it to us generously.” He does not hold back wisdom from anyone. He desires to grant wisdom to us so that we can know His voice and make those wise choices. God is there for us and longs to help us in each and every situation.
If you read a verse further in the first chapter of James there is a little catch to God granting us wisdom. It’s really not a hard catch, either. Pretty simple in fact. God says in verses 6 and 7, “But when you ask, you must believe and do not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.”
Your first response might be, “Yikes! That’s a little harsh!” But really it isn’t. When we know the Lord and follow Him we know that we need to obey all that He asks of us. Why would we ask God for something, but then when we hear from the Lord and are given wisdom in a situation and know what God wants us to do, we do the opposite? Or why would we,when we ask for wisdom, close out our prayer and then begin doubting that He will ever give us the wisdom for that situation? That makes no sense, but I know there are times I have done this. We all do!
I found this idea in the Adventure Bible for kids (I love this Bible for kids and enjoy reading out of it sometimes myself…the perks of being a Children’s Minister). In the book of James it talks about the idea to keep a wisdom diary. It says:
“A wisdom diary is a little notebook in which you write down hard decisions you have to make. Pray about them. When you think you know what God wants, do it. Then write down what happens when you do what God wants.” (NIV Adventure Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Zonderkidz, 2013)
I thought this idea was a great one for adults, too. Many times we forget every decision or situation in which we seek God for wisdom and He gives it. Wouldn’t it be a great way to go back and see how God gives wisdom generously and how He helps us make wise choices? And this wisdom diary would also be helpful for us when we begin to doubt that God will give us wisdom. We can look back and see how God did provide the wisdom we needed and we can be confident that He will provide it for us again.
Begin by praying. Ask God to grant you wisdom for the day. Ask God to give you wisdom for the decisions you need to make. I even pray that God will give wisdom to my children. This is a prayer I pray every morning on the car ride to school. They need wisdom for a test they are taking, wisdom to help them understand something they are learning, wisdom to remember to be kind to others, wisdom to show respect to their teachers and friends, and wisdom to make the right choice in situations they are faced with. Our children need us praying for them. And by us praying for them, this will show them how to seek God for wisdom too.
Bottom line…we should be praying every day for God to give us wisdom. And then we should believe that He will and never doubt. God gives wisdom generously! Are you ready to accept it?
Prayer: Wise Father, you know what’s best for us…way more than we know what’s best for ourselves. Help us in our everyday lives to make the best choices. Take away the doubt and fear that we feel when we encounter big decisions. Give us wisdom in these situations and help us to always believe in You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
- When was the last time you asked God for wisdom? How did God provide for you?
- What keeps you from seeking God for wisdom when it comes time to make decisions, big or small?
- Write down the times you ask God for wisdom in your journal and then go back and write down how God provided the wisdom for you.