Summary: God wants us to be wise not so that we can get ahead in life, but so that we can know how to be godly in every circumstance in life.
Imagine that a genie appeared to you just like in the movie Aladin. Instead of granting you 3 wishes, you get the economy version and the genie tells you that you are granted 1 wish of your choice. (As Genie on Aladin says, “Ixniah on wishing for more wishes”) What do you choose? So many things that you need. Would it be money? Power? Position? Would you want some difficult situation resolved? Tough question isn’t it?!
A situation like this happened one time. It was during a transition time in the nation of Israel. King David had recently died and there was a new king on the throne, David’s son Solomon. God came to him in a dream and told him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” With no qualifications, provisos, or anything, Solomon could have asked for the world. Instead he asked for something that could give him the world, wisdom. “Now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties….So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.” I think it is safe to say that the first act of wisdom that marked the life of Solomon was his decision to ask God for wisdom when the opportunity arose.
I have a book on my shelf at home How To Do Everything Right. It covers all kinds of practical issues from taxes to travel tips, and even tells you how to find lost contact lenses in the carpet. Wouldn’t it be nice if all you had to have is a copy of a 75 page book to know how to do everything right?
But wisdom doesn’t come that easily, does it? Some issues can’t be translated into black and white on a page.
- When your children or your parents or your siblings are giving you fits, the books don’t always have the answers.
- That book doesn’t have any chapter entitled, “How to fix everything that is broken, including relationships, hearts, and trust.” Life is really not that easy that you could get a couple of experts together, ask a few questions, and have the answers. Why, you would be lucky to get the experts to agree what the questions are.
That’s why James spends no little amount of time discussing wisdom in his book. Remember, in his letter, James is interested in telling us how to experience “everyday worship.” How to live life facing God. After beginning his book by diving into the deep end with a discussion about suffering, he moves right into the subject of wisdom. This morning we are going to look at James 1:5-8; 3:13-18. I want you to notice something. If you look at the passage in your bible you will notice that his words about wisdom in chapter 1 are within his discussion of how to deal with suffering. That is no accident. I have found that it is in the middle of the hardest times that we need wisdom the most.
- When you are suffering through the pain of health tragedies, there are often life and death decisions that need to be made.
- When life has thrown you a curve ball and the most unthinkable situation occurs, you have to decide how to respond.