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James Study Day 2
In your notebook, list out all the things you would love to have if I could grant you ANYTHING. Don’t try to assume the highroad here. Just be brutally honest in what you want right now. We’ll revisit this at the end of today’s lesson.
At this point, James starts to reiterate what we are reading in Proverbs about wisdom.
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. (NIV)
If we lack wisdom…. Who of us can say that we have all the wisdom we need? Guess what? We can change that. We can actually ask God for that wisdom. Now just like patience, don’t be surprised at the manner in which you receive wisdom. It is usually by experience and experience alone that shows us the wisdom we need.
Such a Leader!
One of the greatest examples of this is the narrative of King Solomon. The Lord told the new king that he could ask for anything he wanted the Lord to give. The way it was worded was that whatever he asked for he would receive. I don’t know about you, but I could make a list of things that I would like to get from God especially if He was pretty much guaranteeing receipt of it. There is enough money to not have to work, to be popular, to not have my children fighting all the time, to have mothers butt out a little more, to have drivers be more polite while driving….. The list could go on and on. But Solomon did something out of the ordinary. He only asked for wisdom.
1 Kings 3:9-10
So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours? The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. (NIV)
He could have asked for power and riches. Instead a ruler asked to only be a good and faithful leader. If only the leaders of today had the heart that this ruler had. The narrative continues to say that because of his humility in only asking for wisdom, that God gave him riches and honor. He gave him so much more only because he asked for so little. A sign of a true heart.
This same young king later wrote down so much of the wisdom that he had acquired and passed it on to us as the book we know as Proverbs. In particular in chapter 2 verses 3-6 he says:
And if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,
And if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,
Then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. (NIV)
Solomon knew this truth and was not just repeating what had been told to him. He had experienced firsthand. What better example and witness to us about God’s generosity!
The Lord also said this in Mark 11:24 while He was on earth: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (NIV) Once he again, he is saying to just ask. If you are asking with wisdom and confidence, you will receive. He is not a cruel father who teases and taunts His children. He is a father who cares and only wants to give His children what is good and beneficial to them. What could be better than wisdom?
James also points out how we need to be sure in what we ask for and not full of doubt. Have you ever asked the Lord for something and you were not confident in it? Should you receive what you were requesting if you doubted He could do it or if you really needed it? Probably not. I know from my personal experience that if I ask and I’m not too sure it is not because I’m doubting Him. I’m really doubting is if I need it. I know that nothing is beyond His control and power, but I do know that I might not be asking for what I really need. I’m still a child and still growing. I need guidance and I’m not always thinking in the right mind. For that, I’m glad that He doesn’t give me everything I want when I ask for it. The heat of the moment can be a dangerous place. You need to approach requests with confidence and surety.
Now, go back and look at the list you created at the beginning of the lesson. Check off the ones that you now feel as impractical or not so needed after all. Circle the ones that you feel you can ask in confidence and in wisdom. Pray on those items today. If you don’t find any that you can circle, pray about that and begin to look at what you really need – that will become what you really want.