A Heart of Knowledge
James 1:5, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
We have been looking at the means to being able to endure the trials that come our way as Christians. In verse 2 we learned that one of the means is to have a joyful attitude: “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials.” In verse 3 we learned that the second means is to have an understanding mind: “knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” Then in verse 4 we learned that the third means to enduring trials is to have a submissive will: “And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
The next means which we will look at is found in verses 5-8 and that deals with having a heart that believes. In order to be able to endure trials we must be secure in our knowledge and understanding of God. We must have a heart that believes.
The beginning of verse 5 says, “But if any of you lacks wisdom.” The wisdom that is being referred to here is the wisdom of God. The wisdom of God is what enables the Christian to withstand difficulty. Too often we pray for all sorts of things in the face of trials. Often, we pray for God to eliminate the trial. But do we pray that God would grant us His wisdom in that trial?
First, we must understand that we are deficient when it comes to true Godly wisdom. No one is too old or too experienced in life to disregard the need we all have for more godly wisdom. So, as we face trials, we need to ask God to grant us more of His wisdom.
Proverbs 3:5-7 is a good reminder of our need for wisdom: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.” James 3:17 says, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.” Ephesians 1:17-18 says, “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” We are to pray for wisdom because God and God alone is the source of true wisdom.
James then says in verse 5, “let him ask of God.” This is an imperative in the Greek. This means that this is not just a mere suggestion that James is making but this is a command. We are commanded to ask God for wisdom. It is mandatory! Proverbs 2:2-5 says, “Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding; For if you cry for discernment, Lift your voice for understanding; If you seek her as silver and search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will discern the fear of the LORD and discover the knowledge of God.”
God has an abundance of wisdom; He has plenty of it to grant to us. Romans 11:33 says, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” God has this abundance of wisdom and He is not going to say “no” to His child who genuinely seeks Him and His wisdom. Jeremiah 29:11-13 says, “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. ‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.’” John 14:13 says, “Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
Sometimes when I give, I’m a little bit reluctant and I might hold some of whatever it is I’m giving back. God is not like that. Look at the next phrase here in verse 5, “who gives to all generously and without reproach.” Too much of the time I give with strings attached, but god isn’t like that. God, since He has an abundance of not only wisdom but of everything gives “generously.” The word “generously” is translated from the Greek word haplos and it means a singleness of heart. It is doing something unconditionally without any bargaining. We just need to ask. Matthew 7:7-11 says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him?”
The word “reproach” here is translated from the Greek word oneidizo and it means to upbraid, to severely reprimand. God is not going to even mildly “reproach” or reprimand a child of His who comes to Him seeking His wisdom. Even if they should have done this much sooner.
Then verse 5 ends with, “it will be given to him.” God will give wisdom when we ask without hesitation, reluctance or reservation. God will give this to us in abundance and generosity. Psalm 81:10 says, “I, the LORD, am your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.” God can’t wait to grant us His wisdom!
As we go through the trials that will inevitably come our way when we live a life of faithfulness and obedience, we will desperately need God’s wisdom so that we can endure. The good news is that all we must do is ask and God will give us His wisdom and He will give it to us in abundance.