But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.James 1:5(NASB)
It has been said that a knowledge of one's own ignorance is the beginning of wisdom and that recognising our lack of wisdom is a prudent step towards understanding. Scripture qualifies this by reminding us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and that a knowledge of the holy brings understanding.
Life is full of pitfalls and snares, and we often make wrong choices, but it is comforting to know that no matter what trials we may be called upon to face, or what foolish choices we have made in the past, we can go to the Lord and ask Him for godly insight and spiritual understanding, and He has promised to give us all that is needed for the task.
In this passage, James, the half-brother of the Lord Jesus, is particularly referencing the wisdom we need when compassed about by the various difficulties we encounter in our everyday lives and the tough choices we are all required to make. Until Christ's resurrection, James was at enmity with God and scornful towards his older sibling. It must have been shocking for this young man to discover that the brother whom he had treated with such contempt, during his life, was his Lord and his Saviour.
This bondservant of Christ may have lacked wisdom in his earlier days but was ready to admit his folly and willing to share with us how easy it is to gain godly wisdom and spiritual understanding. James began his lesson on wisdom by pointing out that the suffering of this life produces patient endurance, which will furnish us with spiritual maturity. "However," he continues, "if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, Who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him."
There are times when we do not know what to do or which way to turn, and I am sure that James was shocked and mortified when the resurrected Christ visited his petulant, younger brother. But James was a young man with a teachable spirit, who was quick to embrace the wisdom of faith he lacked, and encourages those of us who are deficient in spiritual insight to ask the Lord for the necessary wisdom we need – and not to doubt that He will provide for us liberally.
James also knows that trusting the Lord for godly wisdom as we travel through life.. is a tool the Lord uses to test and strengthen our faith in Him, and which helps to produce in us the patient endurance that is so needful for our spiritual growth – but we are reminded to stand fast in the faith unwaveringly – if we are to honour the Lord Who bought us with His precious blood, and to come forth as gold.
How much we all need God’s heavenly wisdom in the tests and trials of life’s disappointments and difficulties, which are so much a part of our everyday lives. How much we need His guidance in the choices we have to make, a willingness to admit our faults, a readiness to learn the lessons God desires to teach us, and an eagerness to put into practice the truth we have learned.
We all want to finish the work that God has given us to do and to learn the lessons He desires to teach us along the way. We all desire to grow in grace and in a knowledge of Jesus and we all long to cultivate an undivided heart, that is unruffled by life, as we submit to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and walk in spirit and in truth.
Awareness of our lack in any of these areas of our Christian walk or recognising that life’s problems are swamping our fainting hearts is wisdom indeed – and a prudent step towards solving such problems is to ask the Lord for wisdom. Truly, a knowledge of our spiritual ignorance is a step towards godly wisdom, and recognising our lack of godly wisdom is a prudent step towards growing in grace, maturing in the faith, and gaining an understanding of our privileged position in Christ and all that He has done for us.
God knows that we are weak and frail and He knows that the testing our faith can cause us to complain or murmur or to become unsteady in our Christian walk.. but God provides all the wisdom we need to maintain a steady heart, patient endurance, and an unwavering, uncompromised faith in Him. God delights to give generously to all who ask – but we must be prepared to ask Him, to listen to His voice, and to obey His Word.
Loving Father, as the pressures of life are pressing down hard on me, I want to hold fast to the faith and patiently endure. Give me I pray, the wisdom I need to face the future with all joy, knowing my life is hid with Christ in God. Help me to grow in grace and in wisdom as I rest in Your love and trust in Your Word. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.