Have you wondered how to receive the wisdom of God in your life?
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.