“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.” – James 1:5
Today’s Devotional was written by: Tim Grounds
I first remember reading this verse when I was about 18. I was making plans to leave home, go to college and embark upon a new and exciting era of life—adulthood. Although the road before me was wondrous and enchanting, it was also daunting. I saw before me a blank canvas. I had in my hand nothing more than a paint brush and head full of dreams and ideas that appeared and disappeared like fireflies in the night. What would I do, who would I marry, where would I live and most importantly; how would I serve God? I was very skeptical about my own decision making. After all, I had made many decisions in my life up to this point; many of those choices were anything but good. From here on, my choices would affect the rest of my life. I knew I needed help, but as a man I didn’t want to constantly run to mom and dad for advice. How could I know if I was making the right decision?
James 1:5 was for me a beautiful and precious jewel. I cherished that verse almost like a Gypsy cherishes her crystal ball. I made up my mind that from that point, I would make it my daily prayer to ask God for wisdom. All I had to do was ask and simply believe His promise because that’s exactly what this verse is: a promise! Shortly after I began praying this prayer, it dawned on me. If I want wisdom, I need to be reading the words of a wise man. Immediately I made it my daily habit to read Proverbs. After all, it was written by the wisest man who ever lived (besides Jesus). The reality then occurred to me. God’s first answer to my prayer for wisdom was to put it in my mind to read His word! COOL! For the next 37 years, James 1:5 has been one of my favorite verses. Not just because it opened my eyes to a great and wonderful truth, but because it made me aware of a tremendous promise that changed my life.
Read this verse in context: James 1
From James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.
To the twelve tribes who are scattered outside the land of Israel.
2 My brothers and sisters, think of the various tests you encounter as occasions for joy. 3 After all, you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 Let this endurance complete its work so that you may be fully mature, complete, and lacking in nothing. 5 But anyone who needs wisdom should ask God, whose very nature is to give to everyone without a second thought, without keeping score. Wisdom will certainly be given to those who ask. 6 Whoever asks shouldn’t hesitate. They should ask in faith, without doubting. Whoever doubts is like the surf of the sea, tossed and turned by the wind. 7 People like that should never imagine that they will receive anything from the Lord. 8 They are double-minded, unstable in all their ways.
9 Brothers and sisters who are poor should find satisfaction in their high status. 10 Those who are wealthy should find satisfaction in their low status, because they will die off like wildflowers. 11 The sun rises with its scorching heat and dries up the grass so that its flowers fall and its beauty is lost. Just like that, in the midst of their daily lives, the wealthy will waste away. 12 Those who stand firm during testing are blessed. They are tried and true. They will receive the life God has promised to those who love him as their reward.
Our cravings versus God’s gifts
13 No one who is tested should say, “God is tempting me!” This is because God is not tempted by any form of evil, nor does he tempt anyone. 14 Everyone is tempted by their own cravings; they are lured away and enticed by them. 15 Once those cravings conceive, they give birth to sin; and when sin grows up, it gives birth to death.
16 Don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good gift, every perfect gift, comes from above. These gifts come down from the Father, the creator of the heavenly lights, in whose character there is no change at all. 18 He chose to give us birth by his true word, and here is the result: we are like the first crop from the harvest of everything he created.
Welcoming and doing the word
19 Know this, my dear brothers and sisters: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to grow angry. 20 This is because an angry person doesn’t produce God’s righteousness. 21 Therefore, with humility, set aside all moral filth and the growth of wickedness, and welcome the word planted deep inside you—the very word that is able to save you.
22 You must be doers of the word and not only hearers who mislead themselves. 23 Those who hear but don’t do the word are like those who look at their faces in a mirror. 24 They look at themselves, walk away, and immediately forget what they were like. 25 But there are those who study the perfect law, the law of freedom, and continue to do it. They don’t listen and then forget, but they put it into practice in their lives. They will be blessed in whatever they do.
26 If those who claim devotion to God don’t control what they say, they mislead themselves. Their devotion is worthless. 27 True devotion, the kind that is pure and faultless before God the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their difficulties and to keep the world from contaminating us.
Common English Bible (CEB)
Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible