One of my favorite movies ever is The Wizard of Oz. You know the plot. Dorothy and her friends are “off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard Oz…” (Sorry if that song is stuck in your head now!!). They are “off to see the Wizard” because they are in need of something. The Scarecrow specifically hopes the Wizard will grant him a brain. Once Scarecrow reaches the Emerald City, he meets the Wizard and is given a diploma to symbolize his wisdom.
The Scarecrow didn’t know much. He didn’t read books or attend classes to become wise. He simply asked the Wizard for a brain, and the Wizard granted his request. We all must realize that being wise is not about WHAT you know, but WHO you know. Wisdom comes from the Lord, and we must know Him to acquire it. As we look at James 1:5, we first observe
The Availability of Wisdom
“If any of you…”
In the first part of v.5, James recognizes that wisdom is available to anyone in need of it. Don’t miss the meaning of the phrase “of you”. It’s important to note that James is writing to Christians. Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge…” For anyone to be able to acquire wisdom, they must first fear the Lord. It’s not fear like you’re scared of the Lord, but rather that you’re in awe of who He is. This fear means you willingly and freely submit to Him. Jesus is the ultimate example of wisdom. He “feared” the Father and obeyed Him to the point of death (Philippians 2:8). Jesus came to do His Father’s will (John 6:38). God the Father sent Jesus to die for the sins of the world (I John 4:14). When we “fear the LORD,” we recognize who God is and who we are apart from Him—sinners in need of a Savior. Although James makes it clear wisdom is available to all Christians, he also shows us there can be
An Absence of Wisdom
“If any of you lacks wisdom…”
Here we see that being a Christian doesn’t mean you automatically possess wisdom. Wisdom is not achieved when one becomes a Christian. In fact, that’s just the beginning. Remember what Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.” It’s referring to godly wisdom—the discernment between right and wrong that guides you to choices that please the Lord. If you constantly find yourself making choices that aren’t pleasing to the Lord, it’s a good indication that you may not fear the Lord, and consequently are lacking wisdom. If wisdom seems absent in your life, don’t be discouraged because we can make
An Appeal for Wisdom
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let Him ask God…”
Notice James does not say if you lack wisdom, consult the world. No, James says: “Ask God.” The Bible states, “With Him [God] are wisdom and might; to Him belong counsel and understanding” (Job 12:13). God is the source of wisdom. Therefore, we must ask God. When you ask someone for something, you are immediately humbled. You acknowledge you have a need, that you cannot meet it, and that you need help.
I’ve always found it difficult to ask people for help or advice. Maybe deep down inside I think I have all the answers. Or maybe I’m a stubborn, control freak who fears admitting a wrong. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t change that I need help, especially God’s help, on a daily basis. In school, I had a teacher who passed out a study guide a week before the exam. We completed the study guide on our own and had one review day we could ask the teacher any question. Inevitably, I would be missing a few answers on my review sheet, and I never trusted my classmates to have the right answer. Review day was my only hope. I never feared being given the wrong answer because the teacher had the answer key! Even if I didn’t understand the teacher’s answer, I had confidence in the correct answer because I trusted the source. It’s the same way with God. When we ask God for wisdom, we can trust the wisdom He gives because we can trust who God is. In fact, He knows what we need before we even ask (Matthew 6:8)! When we make an appeal to God for wisdom we can have confidence that He is
The Awarder of Wisdom
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach…”
This reveals three important facts about God:
- God is generous – When you ask God for wisdom, He isn’t stingy. He doesn’t just give you enough to get by. He’s generous! In Greek, the word generously (haplṓs) literally means “holding nothing back.” Think about that! When you ask God for wisdom, He gives it to you without holding back!
- God is unbiased – He gives to ALL who ask. It doesn’t matter where you go to school, what you look like, or how smart you are!
- God is gracious – The phrase “without reproach” means that even though God could blame you for lacking wisdom and express His displeasure with you, He doesn’t! Lastly, we see
The Acquiring of Wisdom
“If any of you lacks wisdom let him ask God who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
It’s quite simple. If you lack wisdom, ask God for it. He’s guaranteed it! The Bible tells us our Heavenly Father will give what is good to those who ask Him. (Matthew 7:7-11). God wants you to make wise, godly decisions; therefore, He is willing to give you all the wisdom you need.
Are you at a place in life where you need to make some major decisions—your friend group, extra-curricular activities, school, major, or literally what to do with the rest of your life? When it comes to life decisions, where will you turn—friends, parents, teachers, or God?
Here’s a challenge. Begin growing in God’s wisdom by reading one chapter of Proverbs (the book of wisdom) each day this month. Examine your own life and write down any specific areas/situations where you need wisdom. Next, ask God to give you the wisdom you need to make choices that will please Him. Then, apply the wisdom God has given you! Be sure to record how God granted your request for wisdom in each of the circumstances you listed.
Remember the Scarecrow? His desire to have a brain drove him to the Wizard of Oz. The same can be true for us. If you desire wisdom, let your desire drive you to the feet of Jesus because being wise is not about what you know, but Who you know.
Heavenly Father, I praise You for being the only wise God. I recognize that I need Your wisdom to make choices that honor You. Thank You for making Your wisdom available to those who know You. Lord, when I am lacking wisdom, help me ask You for it and thank You for freely giving it to me when I do.