Yesterday afternoon, I was grocery shopping and ran into a long-time neighbor and friend. Louise decided recently it was time to sell her San Clemente home of many years and split her time between a small place here and a vacation home in Mexico. She looked flustered though, hanging on to her cellphone.
'What's going on?' I inquired. 'Oh, I've got two offers on my house and I just do not know which one to take!'
'So let's pray then!' 'Okay, great,' she said. Shopping carts alongside each other, I put my hand on her shoulder and prayed, 'God, how great that we ran into each other right now! I'm asking that You give my friend the wisdom she needs to make the best decision on her house...' We parted ways shortly after; I grabbed my cauliflower crusted pizza and went to check out.
Back to James. Right after James says, 'Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.' He then says this remarkable thing: If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you1. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.'
Ah, wisdom. Those scattered persecuted Jewish believers to whom James was writing needed it to survive. And we in the 21st century, need wisdom to thrive.
While philosophers have debated the nature of wisdom for thousands of years, Solomon had it correct: For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding2. There it is - true wisdom comes from the heart of God; it is not prideful or puffed up.
There is a lot of meaning packed into the Greek word for wisdom, 'sofia'.
>understanding~ what is true, right, lasting
>discretion~ the ability to decide responsibility
>discernment~ this is what Louise needed; discernment has an element of the divine, in that, when we ask God for wisdom about a decision or a course of action, God knows the future that we do not. God sees around corners that we cannot, just one of the reasons godly wisdom is so critical for our lives.
>prudence~ judicious in handling practical matters, good judgment, common
sense, careful about one's conduct
>action- exercising discretion, discernment, prudence in our actions/behavior
'If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him and he will gladly tell you.'3. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts, God said.4
Walking in wisdom - yet another reason to start each day talking to our Heavenly Father. Ask him each morning for wisdom, and also ask that his favor would be on you.5 Wisdom - we need it for raising our children, we need it in conducting business, we need it in navigating relationships, and we need it in decision-making in various matters throughout each day. It is irreplaceable in our lives.
Wisdom . . . not proud or puffed up
Wisdom . . . practical and sincere
Wisdom . . . direction for our lives
Wisdom . . . divine truth
Wisdom . . . available for you, for me
Again, James, thank you, because sometimes you just gotta know and God has the wisdom we need.
1 - James 1.5
2 - Proverbs 2.6
3 - James 1.5, The Living Bible
4 - Isaiah 55.8
5 - Psalm 90.17