The Lost Art of Seeking Wisdom

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind (James 1.5-6).

Once you realize how important it is to have the wisdom of God in order to serve God, you will have people seek to draw you back again to the wisdom of this world. They think that they are looking out for you, but they are diverting you from the path that God intends for you.

Spiritual wisdom is not found in the academic subjects that you are studying. Spiritual wisdom comes from the Scriptures. It is the skill to apply them to your life. If you are faithful in the pursuit of wisdom, you will offend people. If you please people, you will isolate yourself from God. But you must obey God, and not man.

This passage of Scripture is written to Jewish Christians that find themselves scattered due to persecution in Jerusalem. They are falling into various trials. Their faith is being tested. This will produce patience, and this patience must have its perfect work.  It must be complete, lacking nothing. But how? How do they know they are going the right direction? What if they are making the wrong choices? They need wisdom. How do they find it?  How do we find it?

  1. Spiritual wisdom is God’s gift. The LORD put wisdom and understanding into men so that they could build a beautiful sanctuary for Him (Exodus 36.1-2). The LORD gives wisdom to men in order to produce healthy crops (Isaiah 28.23-26). But our need is for spiritual wisdom. God has revealed to us through His Spirit that which eye cannot see and ear cannot hear. He reveals that which He has prepared for those who love Him. We have received the Holy Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God (1 Corinthians 2.9-12). This is the wisdom that is from above (James 3.17). “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1.17). The Spirit provides us with wisdom and understanding …with counsel and power …with knowledge and the fear of the LORD (Isaiah 11.2). The eyes of your understanding are opened by the hope of God’s calling (Ephesians 1.18). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. He will guide us into all truth (John 16.13). We have an anointing from the Holy One and by Him we know all things (1 John 2.20). The anointing abides or dwells deeply within us. We have teachers, but for real wisdom all we need is the instruction and illumination of God’s Holy Spirit (1 John 2.27). We have understanding and wisdom thanks to Jesus Christ. Our goal is to know Him who is true. We are in Him who is true, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the true God; knowing Him is eternal life (1 John 5.20). Unsaved people are referred to as natural. They do not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to them; nor can they know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2.14).
  2. Spiritual wisdom is received through prayer. We must live according to the Word of God. So we must know what the Word of God says. But we cannot understand the Word of God apart from prayer. Incline your ear to wisdom. Listen to the Word of God. Apply your heart to understanding. Cry out in prayer for discernment. Lift up your voice for understanding. Seek after wisdom like you would seek for silver and hidden treasures. “The LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2.2-6). We need the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ, the eyes of our understanding being enlightened; that we may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints (Ephesians 1.17-18). Pray and ask that we all might be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding (Colossians 1.9).
  3. Spiritual wisdom is assured because of the power and promise of God. God is good to give to those who ask. He gives liberally and without reproach. God’s hand is always open. Don’t ignore it. He will not be stingy. He will not spurn you when you ask Him for wisdom. He delights in this. It will be given to you. When, how, and to what extent is all in His hand. But He will give it. All you must do is seek wisdom from the hand of God in sincerity and in truth. Ask in faith, with no doubting (James 1.6). God may withhold something specific that I ask for. But I will receive something better instead. I really believe that. God has the power and God is willing. If I doubt either one of these simple facts, I make God a liar. I don’t ask and expect to receive because I’m worthy. I ask and expect to receive because I am weak. If I thought I was worthy, God would resist me. I believe I shall have wisdom simply because God has promised to give it to me.

Many are unaware of their need for wisdom. They are competent when it comes to thinking. But they trust in their own hearts. Proverbs 28.26 states that those who trust in their own hearts are fools, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered. If you lack wisdom, trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3.5-6).

Some people are discouraged because they know they need wisdom and they don’t seem to have it. If we focus on how big the problem and difficulty is, then we will be terribly discouraged. We are insufficient to meet the need in our own strength. If we focus on God, our hope is strengthened because He has promised and He has the power to deliver. God can establish strength in the lives of others even through babes and nursing infants (Psalm 8.2). The treasure of God is in earthen vessels so that the excellence and power of God may be seen (2 Corinthians 4.7). God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12.9). We will sink beneath the waves if we doubt in the power of God to rescue us (Matthew 14.30-31). If we doubt, we cannot expect to receive anything from the Lord (James 1.7). If we believe, then in accordance with our faith let it be to us (Matthew 9.29).

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