Summary: When we face troubles in our life we should ask God for the wisdom to understand what He is doing in our lives.
Let Them Ask
Text: James 1:5-8
1. Illustration: Automaker Henry Ford asked electrical genius Charlie Steinmetz to build the generators for his factory. One day the generators ground to a halt, and the repairmen couldn't find the problem. So Ford called Steinmetz, who tinkered with the machines for a few hours and then threw the switch. The generators whirred to life--but Ford got a bill for $10,000 from Steinmetz. Flabbergasted, the rather tightfisted car maker inquired why the bill was so high."
a. Steinmetz's reply: For tinkering with the generators, $10.
b. For knowing where to tinker, $9,990. Ford paid the bill.
2. When we started our study of the Letter of James we talked about how our troubles can be an opportunity of joy. We also talked about asking the right questions in the midst of our troubles. Instead of asking, "God, why are you doing this to me?," we should ask, "God, what are you trying to teach me?"
3. In our text today, James tells us to...
a. Ask For Wisdom
b. Ask In Faith
c. Ask With Steadfastness
4. Let's stand together this morning as we read James 1:5-8.
Proposition: When we face troubles in our life we should ask God for the wisdom to understand what He is doing in our lives.
Transition: First, James tells us to...
I. Ask For Wisdom (5).
A. If You Need Wisdom Ask
1. As believers we believe that everything that happens has a purpose because we believe that God has a purpose for our lives.
2. Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
3. However, there are times in our lives when things seem to be going against us
A. During these times our faith can be severly tested, and it may become difficult to hang on to our faith.
B. While we are walking through those spiritual deserts we may wonder why God is allowing us to go through these moments.
4. James tells us in v. 5, during those difficult times, "If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you."
A. The first question we need to answer is what does James mean by wisdom?
B. Wisdom: (Sophia) Practical wisdom, Christian enlightenment, a right application of knowledge. Wisdom in the Bible is often coupled with knowledge. In anticipation of our needing guidance and direction, God tells us to ask for wisdom, assuring us of generous response (Word Wealth, New Spirit-Filled Life Study Bible, 1385).
C. The wisdom that we need has three distinct characteristics:
i. (1) It is practical—The wisdom from God relates to life even during the most trying times. It is not a wisdom isolated from suffering and trials. This wisdom is the tool by which trials are overcome. An intelligent person may have profound ideas, but a wise person puts profound ideas into action.
ii. (2) It is divine—God’s wisdom goes beyond common sense. Common sense does not lead us to choose joy in the middle of trials. This wisdom begins with respect for God, leads to living by God’s direction, and results in the ability to tell right from wrong.
iii. (3) It is Christlike—Asking for wisdom is ultimately asking to be like Christ. The Bible identifies Christ as the “wisdom of God” (Barton, Life Application New Testament Commentary, 1071).
D. The wisdom which may be had by asking with unwavering faith is not intellectual knowledge or philosophical speculation, but spiritual understanding of the purpose of the troubles.
5. But we might be thinking, "God's awfully busy, he might not have time for my insignificant problems," or we might say, "Won't God get made at me for asking? Won't he consider it a lack of faith?"
6. James aswers those questions for us by saying, "...He will not rebuke you for asking."
A. Rebuke: (oneidizo - on-eye-did-zoe) This word originally meant to behave in a very juvenile and immature way. Then the word came to denote mocking, ridiculing, scolding or insulting, and using worlds angrily or sarcastically. This verse assures us that God gives wisdom without reminding us of our unworthiness (Word Wealth, 1633).
B. You may ask God for the wisdom you need without fear, for God gives without holding your failures or lack of wisdom against you.
C. This is the assurance, with which the Christian approaches God, that God is not a harsh Father who responds to our needs by reminding us of our faults.
D. Christ has made atonement for our sin; we receive justification by responding with faith, not by trying with good deeds to become righteous enough to deserve God's favor.
E. This salvation by grace, the very heart of the gospel of Christ, will certainly not be contradicted by God when we come to him for wisdom.