If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. 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. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.
Being smart isn’t the same thing as being wise. I once knew a man who had a successful career as an industrial scientist. He excelled in his profession and was regarded as highly knowledgeable by his colleagues, and yet his personal life was often in shambles. He made a series of foolish decisions that nearly cost him his marriage and the respect of his children. He mismanaged money so that, despite his high-paying job, he was constantly trying to dig out of debt. For all his intelligence, education and professional prestige, it was the wisdom he lacked that sent his life off course.
James encourages us in these verses to ask God for wisdom, trusting that He will provide it rather than running after other sources of knowledge and direction. Biblical wisdom is the ability to see the world, our own lives and the people around us through the eyes of God. With wisdom we can discern what is right and wrong, even understand what God’s will is. The key to wisdom, and what sets it apart from knowledge or intelligence, is listening to God. That’s why James tells us, when we seek wisdom, to be sure our faith is “in God alone.” It’s tempting to listen to the world’s ideas or to follow the path everyone else is going down, but God may direct us in a different way. If our attention is divided, we will end up “unsettled as a wave of the sea,” blown back and forth between God’s wisdom and the world’s folly.
God’s word reveals His wisdom on all sorts of issues, from finances to relationships, from work ethic to raising children, from settling disputes to spiritual disciplines. If you set your heart on finding and following God’s wisdom, He will provide it. In addition to the many treasures of wisdom you can find in scripture, God also shows you what is right through the counsel of other believers and through the Spirit’s voice as you pray. The real challenge becomes putting God’s wisdom to work, especially when the world’s ways push you in an opposite direction. When you begin to feel that your “loyalty is divided,” like one of those waves tossed by the wind, you will have to make a hard choice: listen to God or go along with the world. Following God’s wisdom may require sacrifice and may mark you as different than others, but God has promised to lead you in good and right paths because He loves you.
Lord, You are loving and generous. Thank You for promising to give me wisdom. Show me Your ways and give me courage to follow where You lead. Keep me from falling for the world’s foolish lies and fill my heart with a desire to do Your will, through Jesus my Savior. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian