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If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

What is Wisdom?

“For James, the Christian teacher/leader with the Jewish background, wisdom is a practical thing. Wisdom is not philosophic speculation and intellectual knowledge.” For James, wisdom is wisdom for life….the Christian life. Some definitions/explanations of wisdom:

  • Knowledge of things human and divine.
  • The supreme and divine quality of the soul whereby man knows and practices righteousness.
  • That endowment of the heart and mind which is needed for the right conduct of life.
  • Knowledge of the deep things of God.
  • The understanding and practical skill that was necessary to live life to God’s glory.
  • Wisdom is practical.  It is such knowledge turned into action in all the decisions and the personal relationships of everyday life.
  • The ability to judge fairly and to understand and make wise use of facts.

As Christians, we view wisdom much like the Hebrews. Wisdom for them was an attribute of God shared with men. In that respect, wisdom is defined in Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; And lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, And he shall direct thy paths. Wisdom is usually best defined in how it is used rather than what it is. This leads to the next question:

What area is there a lack?

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God…” A question to ask in interpreting this verse is, “Is James moving on here to something else, or is he filling in the gaps of what he just wrote? The safe answer is to assume James is writing in a continuance of vv.2-4.  This would also be the specific use of wisdom. The easy/popular/desired answer would be that James is speaking generally:

  • I like to use verse 5 in my daily prayers and ask God for Spiritual Wisdom, Physical Wisdom (health), and Financial Wisdom.
  • This is the general use.
  • While okay, this is not necessarily what James is writing.
  • Why does that matter?  We like to hold God to things sometimes that the Bible doesn’t say or claim to do. The Bible says God would give wisdom liberally. Dear God, give me the wisdom of the secrets of the universe…

How should we ask?

We should ask without a doubt. Ask in faith. Nothing Wavering. If asking with doubts, don’t expect anything from God. One asking with doubts is double minded. Dipsuchos means “a man with two souls, two minds, inside him.” One mind believes the other doubts. Almost as if there is an internal civil war of trust vs. distrust.

Pastor Chance Strickland

Harpeth Baptist Church
Kingston Springs, TN