James: Everyday Faith: Book Preview: Chapter 3

Day 3: Seeking Wisdom by Faith 

(James 1:5-8)

What if you knew what was going to happen in the future? What if you knew the right decision to be made? What if the direction the Lord was leading you became clear to you? These are all things for which we hope. Especially if we find ourselves in the middle of a trial like James encouraged us to have joy in the midst of in the previous verses. 

We live in a world where everyone wants to offer you advice. Whether it is the best way to get a better grade, how to look better, or ways to make more money at your job, advice surrounds us. One way we determine good advice from bad advice is to look at the source of that advice. Someone who never successfully managed money would be a poor financial advisor just like someone who never played a sport probably has poor advice on how to improve your game. The validity and usefulness of wisdom comes from evaluating the source of that wisdom.

When it comes to the advice James is calling us to seek, we can know it is wisdom because the source is God Himself. Think about it this way, the God of the universe wants you to actively seek Him in order to gain His wisdom for the challenges, situations, and decisions you face in your everyday life. 

James writes the following about this wisdom… 

“If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”- James 1:5-8

Notice the passage begins by addressing people who “lack wisdom.” James is encouraging us that those who come to the point of seeking God’s wisdom have to first realize that they need it. Our wisdom is not enough. We stand in need of God speaking His wisdom to us. 

If we seek the God of wisdom, James encourages us that He is a generous God who wants to be the source of wisdom for His children. God is waiting for us to seek Him for His wisdom. 

When you were a child, did you ever have moments when you didn’t want to listen to the wisdom of your parents. Maybe, it was when you decided to stay in a relationship too long that your parents said wasn’t good for you. Maybe, it was the time you tried to fix the broken toy on your own only to further break the toy in the process. When we reject wisdom or go back and forth on our thoughts on the wise advice we were given, we become people who God doesn’t continue to give His wisdom. 

Have you ever had a friend who you told not to make a poor decision over and over and over and over, yet over and over and over, he or she continued to make that poor decision? Even the best of friends would give up on trying to change their friend who obviously isn’t interested in changing.  

According to this passage, those seeking wisdom can be like that friend. James said people can be back and forth in seeking wisdom by asking in faith while also doubting. To do this is like saying to God, “I believe you will give me wisdom. No, I really don’t. Yes, I believe you will give me wisdom.” James describes this person like a wave on a beach. The wind blows it in and out and in and out and every time the tide changes so does the response of faith or lack of faith before God. 

James says those who go back and forth like the waves at the beach will not receive God’s wisdom. He then goes on to call them doubleminded. The word “double-minded” here means in the original language “double-souled.” Deep at the core of who they are, these doubting people are split. Half of them believe God is the true source of wisdom and they should seek Him while the other half believes they can make wise decisions on their own. 

For a person with limited experience, who cannot see the future, and who only has limited knowledge to think they can have more wisdom than the God who defines all experience, sees the future, and knows all things is truly a delusion. They are truly “double-souled.” 

How can a person who finds themselves being “double-souled” be restored to God’s wisdom again? According to the passage, this restoration comes from going back to verse 5, where James states the humble attitude of approaching God as the true source of wisdom.  

As we humble ourselves and recognize our place in relation to God’s place, we will be able to listen to His guidance for our lives. 

Response

  • Where do you go for wisdom in your life? 
  • Do you seek God and His wisdom, or do you simply rely on your own? 

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