If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. James 1:5
This morning the WFPC Saturday men’s group met for some encouraging conversation around the beginning of the Book of James. I say “encouraging” because one of the most important reasons we meet together is to give one another support in terms of our journey as people of faith.
For me today’s “take-away” was very much verse five. Here’s my paraphrase, presented as a prayer: “Sometimes, Lord I fall far short when it comes to the quality of wisdom I know I’m going to need if I’m going to do my job well. But I know from experience that you are a generous God and that you give from the goodness of your wide-open heart. So I don’t just ask for wisdom, I am asking with confidence because I am one of your children.”
Wisdom is a gift:
The James passage describes wisdom as a gift. To me that rings true because I know the difference between the limitations of my own understanding and the insight and discernment that come into play when the Spirit of God is involved.
In Ecclesiastes, the “Wisdom Literature” book we just completed in the Wednesday evening group, humankind is described as compromised to the extent that we rely on our own selves for understanding. This is wisdom “under the sun” – it always leaves us “chasing after the wind” and coming up short.
As someone who is a leader and a teacher, with the opportunity to reach literally thousands of people in the span of a few days, I can’t simply rely on my wit, my humor, or my ability to turn a memorable phrase. What I need, and what I ask for when I am smart enough to begin my work in prayer, is the kind of wisdom the Bible calls “from above.”
No Fake (false) News (truth) here:
In the third chapter of James the writer elaborates on wisdom: “Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom…” (James 3:13).
I love the idea that gentleness is born of wisdom!
James describes how envy, selfish ambition and boasting is/are “false to the truth” (read fake news!). Wisdom from above is described in this way: “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy” (James 3:17).
So this week I am asking the guys in my group to pray for me, to ask God to give me the gift of wisdom as I seek not only to avoid but to counteract what is false to the truth.
May my wisdom and my writing be:
- First pure,
- then peaceable,
- Willing to yield,
- Full of mercy and good fruits,
- Without a trace of partiality or hypocricy.
Yeah, just like that.
So please pray for me – and pray for my readers too – DEREK