Have you wondered how to receive the wisdom of God in your life?
What do you do when you don’t know what God wants you to do? Click To Tweet
The topic of the wisdom of God is as vast as the sea. Diving into the Bible, I find an ocean of discoveries I never knew existed. Common stand-alone verses explored further by their surrounding context, advance a deeper understanding and even more sunken vessels and hidden treasures.
My search to know the wisdom of God in my life intensifies when hard times hit.
James tells us how God’s wisdom will enable us to endure trials joyfully.
Usually, I see/hear James 1:5 quoted as a stand-alone verse. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
However, reading the full context of this passage (the verses before and after) gives insight into who/how we can receive the wisdom of God.
James 1:2-6 says:
(2) Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, (3) because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. (4) Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (5) If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (6) But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. (7) That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
James is writing to Jewish Christians who had been scattered throughout the Mediterranean world due to persecution. James wanted to encourage them to live out their faith in a genuine way.
How do we receive God’s wisdom when life is hard?
We must know Christ to know God’s Divine Wisdom
Since Christ is the source of all wisdom (Colossians 2:3) it makes sense that in order to gain divine wisdom we need to know the author from whom all wisdom originates.
Proverbs 2:3-5 tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Those who have reverential awe for the majesty of God will trust and turn away from their sins.
Until we recognize the holiness of God, we will not understand the depravity of our sin and our great need for a Savior. His saving grace naturally produces a heart in the believer that seeks to know our loving God.
God whispers wisdom to the humble in heart. He whispers and pours out His secrets upon the person who hates sin, turns away from iniquity and puts his trust in God his Savior.
We must ask God for wisdom.
James encourages believers to ask God for wisdom.
Have you ever prayed earnestly for God to grant you wisdom to know how to apply Biblical truth to particular situations in your life? God is not hiding his wisdom from you. He gives it generously to those who seek him with a true desire to know his will.
When we ask we must believe and not doubt.
Do you doubt that God will give you wisdom after you ask? Sometimes God’s word reveals wisdom to us right away. God’s wisdom will never go against what scripture says.
Other times, when we’re not quite sure how to respond or act or what to do in a particular situation, gaining God’s wisdom is a process. Sometimes it takes time. The fact that God doesn’t want me to doubt, gives me reassurance because it means I can expect Him to answer my prayers!
I don’t have to stress about my desire to do the right thing or be afraid that I will do the wrong thing when I know I am praying for God’s divine direction. But sometimes I have to wait as God reveals his will in his perfect timing. The waiting is part of allowing God to do his perfect work in me as I learn to be patient and trust him.
Enduring Trials Produces Wisdom
James tells us that enduring trials will test our faith and produce perseverance and maturity in us.
As much as I hate going through hard times, when I earnestly seek God for guidance, I learn about who God is. The process refines me and I come out having greater wisdom about how God wants me to act and respond.
God reveals His divine wisdom to us through the Holy Spirit, His word, and through prayer.
A.W. Tozer’s book, The Wisdom of God: Letting His Truth and Goodness Direct Your Steps says divine wisdom will help us to recognize God’s hand leading us providentially. His wisdom enables us to recognize His presence in our lives as well as his correction.
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom and with all thy getting, get understanding. Proverbs 4:7
If you are earnestly praying about a situation and you still don’t know what to do, don’t forget that the Lord hears your prayers. He’s not ignoring you.
Last month I wrestled over a decision. I desperately wanted to do what God wanted. But I didn’t know what choice to make. After I finally made a decision, a door closed and I was left feeling frustrated and confused. Especially since I had prayed about the issue so fervently. But as time passed, I discovered how God was protecting me through that closed door!
I find that in some (not all) situations there is really no right or wrong answer and God will help you through whatever decision you make. He knows your desire to make the best choice. Sometimes I make decisions bigger than they actually are and allow my desire to make “the right choice” turn into fear and worry. Romans 8:28 says that “in all things, God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose.”
Are you seeking the Lord’s wisdom in a certain area in your life? I would love for you to share so that we can support you in prayer. Let’s encourage one another as we endure difficult circumstances and find joy in the hope of our salvation.
I recommend Emily P. Freeman’s latest book, The Next Right Thing: A Simple, Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions. She’s a friend and the co-founder of my favorite writing group Hope*Writers. This book is all about making decisions. Here’s the back-cover copy of the book and you’ll see what I mean:
Nothing gets our attention like an unmade decision: Should I accept the new position? Which schooling choice is best for my kids? How can I support my aging parents? When we have a decision to make and the answer isn’t clear, what we want more than anything is peace, clarity, and a nudge in the right direction.
If you have trouble making decisions, because of either chronic hesitation you’ve always lived with or a more recent onset of decision fatigue, Emily P. Freeman offers a fresh way of practicing familiar but often forgotten advice: simply do the next right thing. With this simple, soulful practice, it is possible to clear the decision-making chaos, quiet the fear of choosing wrong, and find the courage to finally decide without regret or second-guessing.
Whether you’re in the midst of a major life transition or are weary of the low-grade anxiety that daily life can bring, Emily helps create space for your soul to breathe so you can live life with God at a gentle pace and discern your next right thing in love.
It can be so hard at times to determine what God wants, sometimes I think that is because God is more concerned with our hearts than what we do. I think we make some decisions bigger than they really are in the big picture. God does hear and He will be heard if that is what it takes. If we are off track He will pull us back as long as we are searching Him. He is faithful! Great post! Many Thanks 8)
Amen! I agree that sometimes we make decisions bigger than they really are. There are some decisions where there really is no right choice, and whatever we decide, as long as we are seeking God, we need to trust that God will help us through the circumstances surrounding them. And He is big enough to help us should we make a decision that’s not best.
I recently struggled with trying to determine what God’s leading wanted me to do over something I had been praying over. But at the same time I had been working on a women’s workshop at my church. The Lord revealed to me that the concern I had after many tears and just not being sure . The Holy Spirit assured me that the thing that I wanted an answer or direction on was a distraction from focusing on my assignment . And the Holy Spirit reassured me that once this workshop is over the Lord will reveal what is next . The Holy Spirit also revealed to me my words in prayer were that “Lord I want to trust you more” so trusting God is not always having a play by play … sometime he will only reveal what to do step by step of faith Amen… God Bless you
Hi Tanzie, I love your comment. So often we want answers right away and God wants us trust instead of having to know what’s next all the time. I love that the Holy Spirit reassured you to focus on the present assignment he gave you. Thank you so much for sharing. I think we can gain a lot from hearing the testimonies of others.
I hadn’t heard of that book by Tozer…will be checking it out. Knowing God’s will for our life and decisions can feel overwhelming at times. Prayer, Scripture, and seeking godly counsel all help…then adding in a dose of patience (the hardest part!)
Yes, sometimes it’s hard to know what God wants us to do. I”m glad we can trust him to take care of us even when we make decisions that aren’t the best.
I am praying for Gods strength, wisdom and timing to share a great testimony I am living. I received a phone call in the early morning that my son was in a horrific motorcycle accident amputating him at the scene. His survival was minute by minute, hour by hour. We had a 9 hour drive to get by his side. He was on life supports when we arrived, not knowing the extent of other injuries as he was thrown into a tree that amputated his leg, and left the other completely fractured. I never stopped prAying, and still have not! Praying for it to be his will, and thanking him daily. He was miraculously untouched from the waste up. I have not left his side yet. He not only survived he is thriving. We are going thru some new surgical procedures still 3 1/2 years out. My prayers are to be able to share our journey and testimony as I have always been a more quiet, reserved introverted person. Please help me be strong enough to share this wonderful testimony someday with all needing to hear his great love for us all.
God bless you and your ministry! ??
Wow. What a powerful testimony. That’s a phone call every mother fears. And yet you have not lost your hope in Jesus. And that is a testimony I know I want to hear more of. In fact, one of my writing aspirations is to interview others who have lived the “the what-if” scenarios I feared, and show how God helped the person through circumstances that were difficult to understand, and ultimately trust in God’s wisdom when life doesn’t always make sense. As an introvert, I understand it can be hard to put yourself out there. But I know God will equip you and give you strength. He makes us bold. Gives us courage. I’m praying for you and for those new surgical procedures coming up. Thank you so much for your heartfelt comment. I’d love to keep in touch and follow your story.
“God is not hiding His wisdom from you” I love this line because we serve a God who neither hides nor has a short arm. He wants to walk with us in our trials and give us wisdom every set of the ways.
Will be pinning this as well.
When we go through trials it’s easier to question God’. He only wants the best for us. Thank you for sharing Diana.
I too do not like going through hard times however I hate to see who I would be had I not. God has shaped me through those times and given me the wisdom I could never have found on my own. Great post! Thank you!
Hard times seem to have a way of stopping us, causing us to pause and seek the Lord for direction. I’m with you. I’d hate to see who I would be if I had not been shaped by trials and learn the wisdom that comes through enduring. You are a blessing to me Maree!
Such good truth here, Valerie! Will be sharing!
I appreciate that Kelly!
These are great points! It is so important to seek God’s wisdom rather than relying on our own.
Thank you so much for visiting Lesley!
Great post! God’s Word never fails….even when my own understanding does. Lean not – God is so faithful – even in my wanderings and failures.
Lean not! I’m always tempted to lean on my own understanding. God’s word always helps me find my way. Thank you so much for visiting Liz.
I love how God can use even the challenging, difficult, terrible things of this life to teach us about His goodness, love, and faithfulness.
That’s so true Sarah!
Wonderful post, Valerie. The wisdom of God will always be founded on the truth of God. May we always seek Him on the written pages of our Bible for it is there we will always find Him. So grateful for His Word which is alive and living and speaks to us. Blessings!
Hi Joanne, Yes, God’s word is living and active. I love how He speaks to us through His Word. His Word will always light our path.
Great post, Valerie! Your 4 points are helpful!
Visiting from #HeartEncouragement
Thank you Julie!
Want to know what I do? Keep doing the last thing HE told me to do. It may be years before HE tells me something new. 😉 Your neighbor on H*W Friday Shares.
That’s great advice Susan! Sometimes we can only keep doing what we know to do at that time.
Hi Valerie, So much wisdom in this post! I read it twice! 🙂 We just need to keep seeking Him and not forget to ask for His wisdom and guidance. I am praying right now for wisdom about a friend.
Alyson, I’m praying that the Lord gives you wisdom as you pray about your friend.
I wish someone could help or guide me. I do not agree with things and even tho i doubt in what i pray and desperately ask for God does not give. Its been 4 years. And i just stoped crying now after pleeding to god. Im just giving up. I feel its totally unnecessary to go thru these things im going thru, as i know its just a waist of time. Im so frustrated and feel hopeless. Its like its God’s way or no way at all. And i really want things to happen and my desires to be met like God promises in the bible. Yet God fails me time on time and does not do as He has promised in scripture lik mat7-7-12 or John 3:22
I hear the pain in your comment. I’m so sorry for the struggle you are going through. I’ve had times in my life when I have felt the same way. I have been praying for you when I read your comment yesterday asking the Lord to give me the words to encourage your broken heart. I don’t know what prayer you have been pleading with the Lord over. Many times in my life I have cried out to Jesus pleading for rescue. There have been times it didn’t seem like he answered or cared. I had to walk through pain and suffering. But through those times I kept holding onto Jesus even when I didn’t understand. We may never understand. But God understands us. So much so that he knows our deepest need is to know who He is. I’ve prayed through infertitlity for 6 years, through marriage crisis, and through almost losing my husband to a staph infection. During those difficult times I realized that no matter what happened, and even if God didn’t answer my prayers the way I wanted, that he would still care for me in the deepest moments of pain. As I soaked in the Bible I saw that there is pain and suffering in this world. God never promised a safe world But he did promise he would take care of us and never leave our side. He sent Jesus to save us from all this pain and suffering on earth. Although he doesn’t always take the suffering away, he gives us an eternal hope that nothing can steal from us. When we see our purpose and the joy of knowing Jesus we find hope in the direst of circumstances. Dear Jesus, Please wrap your heavenly arms around Janu. Give her signs of your answers and love for her. Help her to not give up seeking you. Meet her. Lord comfort her hurting heart. Help her find joy in discovering who you are to her in the midst of hardship. Thank you for always being near. The truth is you never fail us. You love us so much you want us to come to you with our honest feelings. You can take it. Lord help Jana see that you will not fail her. You will help her. In the name of Jesus, send her help and guidance and hope. Amen
Valerie, Thanks for sharing this post on how to know wisdom in hard times. No one likes going through hardships, but you are right it is those very trials we face that perfect our faith. My daily prayer for my husband and family is that the Lord would give us wisdom! <3
Hardships can sure cause us to seek God for direction and guidance. I love how you pray daily for wisdom for your family. That’s a great reminder that we shouldn’t wait until the hard time come to seek wisdom, but to do it every single day.