Summary: Wisdom is practical application of knowledge...and this is how God gives it to us.
Part 1 How To Get Wisdom
We all lived through the era of WWJD. What Would Jesus Do was imprinted on just about everything that can possibly hold a print. I refuse to be negative about it. It seems I’m in the minority with that as I searched WWJD on Google this week, 98% of the sites contained jokes about the phrase and they were all bad so I am not going to tell you one.
Today we are not going to look at what Jesus would do necessarily, but at “What Would Jesus’ Brother Do?” In the back of your Bible there is a little 5 chapter letter that was written to some of the Jewish Christians that had been run out of town (Jerusalem) due to persecution and they were really struggling with things like their faith and their relationship with one another. So Jesus’ half brother James (1/2 brother because Mary was their mother, but Joseph was only James’ dad) who had become a major leader in the early church writes a letter to encourage and instruct them.
Now, this is significant for a number of reasons. 1st of all, Scripture alludes and history confirms the fact that James was not a believer in his brother until after Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Who can blame him? Can you imagine growing up in that household? James would have had to have felt the pressure. If Mary was like regular moms she probably said things like, “James, why can’t you be more like your brother?” Try following him in school….school talent shows? How are you gonna top that?
But after Jesus’ death and the convicting reality of his resurrection, Scripture shows that James became a major part of his brother’s movement. Early church writings also tell us that James had a nick name….he was referred to as “old camel knees” because of his commitment to prayer.
I say that because I think it is important to read this letter with the understanding that James wrote it from a position of prayer. I think that is why it is such a practical letter for even us today.
So turn with me to James chapter 1 and let’s read together a few verses. James 1:1-8
While there are so many things we could begin to talk about from chapter 1 here, I am convinced that the overriding theme that will help us get the most out of the rest of this letter is one word found in verse 5. Anybody want to guess what that word is? WISDOM!!!!!
It seems to me that everything that James talks about in chapter 1 is best understood from the perspective of wisdom. For example: Verses 2-4 say things like “count it all joy when your faith is tested…be patient and become perfect…”. If you are anything like me your first question will tend to be…okay, how?
And that is where this idea in verse 5 comes in. Verse 5 begins “if any of you lacks wisdom…”. Clearly a component of carrying out this life James is describing is the idea of wisdom. So let’s explore this wisdom gig for a few minutes and see what we can learn.
Remember that for every New Testament principle, there is an Old Testament picture. So let’s flip backwards to another time when wisdom was the key. 2 Chronicles 1. Here’s the story.
King David has just died. If you know OT history you know that David was Da Man. He was king, warrior, athlete, songwriter poet, harp builder and player. I mean David was in touch with all his sides…he was handsome, popular – he was it. And now he’s dead. And Israel has been left in the hands of his son Solomon who understandably is feeling a bit inferior to his father’s legacy.
So he goes to a place called Gibeon where the Tabernacle of the Lord is (where God dwells) and he makes offering to God and seeks him there. He needs some advice, some direction and we pick up the story in verse 7.
Read 2 Chronicles 1:7-10
Man. God says whatever you want, I will give you. Because of his love for Solomon’s dad and his respect for David’s son, God says, you name it. It’s yours.
What would do if God said that to you? I am so afraid I would screw it up.
Like the guy on the beach who saw the bottle sticking out of the sand. He picks it up and dusts it off and POOF! a genie pops out and says “your wish is my command.” 3 wishes. The first is for a mansion on the shore. Poof, Got it. The second is for a convertible Beamer. Poof, Got it. He wants to think about the third, so he jumps in his BMW with the top down and cruises along the PCH, turns on the radio and hears the commercial and starts to sing along “oh I wish I were an Oscar Meyer Weiner.” POOF!