Wisdom. It is a word that implies so much more than intelligence. For the Christian believer, this word carries great weight. It is understood to be a gift from God to those who seek him and follow in his ways. Those who keep God’s commandments and love others as he loved us in Jesus Christ, are wise indeed. Wisdom, then, is a grace given in return for, and in support of, faithful attentiveness to God and his precepts.
God readily grants wisdom to all who ask for it in faith. It is wisdom that sustains the Christian when trials come. It is a kind of knowledge, or understanding that is not accessible to unbelievers, or those who doubt. It gives to the receiver the insight to recognize the deeper, even the eternal importance of any given event. With wisdom a Christian can confront and deal with whatever adversities may come with an attitude of calm and hope.
Doubt is a troubling thing. We all know that by experience. It makes difficult situations even more difficult. James gives us a clue as to why this is when he writes, “Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” (verse 8) When we doubt it is because we get caught up in an internal joust between desire and fear. We are paralyzed by the “What if” syndrome. The wisdom that comes from God brings confidence in all things, but especially in matters of great seriousness and importance.
James gives us a very important bit of assurance in todays’ verse. He reminds us that God is generous and that he gives to all without finding fault. He is not concerned with our faults. Rather, he is interested in our desire to come to know him. All we need to do is to ask him in faith and he will provide. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)
Life is difficult. We need God’s wisdom to be able to live the Christ life, and to live it well. Believe that God wants you to have this wisdom. Do not doubt this. He will give it to you because of your faith. And this holy wisdom will enable you to overcome your fears in times of trouble. With this wisdom comes confidence. With God’s wisdom you will have the confidence, like the 14th century mystic, Julian of Norwich to say in all circumstances, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”
Lord, in humble submission to your will we pray that you give us your wisdom in all things, so that we may know you more clearly, love you more dearly, and serve you more effectively in all things. We ask this in faith, with confidence in the generous power of Jesus’ name. Amen!
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