Gaining the Wisdom of God

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him. ~ James 1:5

If you’re like me, you have shelves of inspirational and self-help books. There is so much good advice in them, it would take more than a lifetime to absorb all of it. Most of those authors offer good advice, wisdom and practical application.

Of course, as Christians, the more we read the Bible, the more we realize that their wisdom actually came from the mouth of God. Whatever tidbit we might find in their writings, we will also find in God’s Word.

The Book of Proverbs is full of wise words, comparing wisdom and folly. From Romans to Jude, the Apostles offered instruction for a victorious Christian life. And Psalms deals with most human issues, including fear, lack and doubt. The wisest of self-help books cannot supersede the wisdom of omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent Almighty God.

The issues you and I face today were no different than people faced during Jesus’ time, otherwise He would not have taught about them. As Ecclesiastes said, “There is no new thing under the sun” (v. 1:9). What Jesus taught is just as relevant today as it was for His disciples and the multitudes who followed Him over 2,000 years ago.

So, how do we tap into that wisdom, to make it effective in our lives? By spending time with God in His Word. Do not read chapter and verse just to get through our daily allotment. Instead, take time to really think about what we’re reading, meditate on it and how to apply it in our own lives.

Recently, I spent some time in First Thessalonians, Chapter 5. Let’s take it verse by verse.

Ye are all the children of light … therefore let us not sleep, as do others, but let us watch and be sober (v.5-6). Jesus is Light, and you and I are children of Light! Don’t ‘sleep’ or be lazy where spiritual things are concerned. Letting darkness get into you is not an option for a Christian. It’s easy to let a bit of depression, doubt or unforgiveness sneak into your thinking. Instead, watch out for the ‘little foxes’ – the seemingly insignificant things that can ultimately ruin your spiritual, mental, emotional or physical health. The Amplified Version says to be ‘calm, collected and circumspect’. In other words be watchful, prudent, and consider more than the present moment.

Therefore comfort yourselves together and edify one another (v. 11). Edify means to instruct, improve or build up. Watch what you say to others. Give up gossip, back-biting and criticism. Instead, speak words of encouragement. You are ‘rooted and grounded in love’, not meanness, pettiness or unforgiveness.

And be at peace among yourselves (v. 13). Peace is a valuable but rare commodity in today’s world. It’s been supplanted by busy-ness, anger, and worry. You won’t have peace if you’re constantly in turmoil over some issue or another. Slow down. Breathe. Give God your problems – and trust Him to work out the details. You can’t share peace with others if you don’t have any yourself.

comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men (v. 14). Comfort means to give strength and hope, to ease, console or offer relief. Ask God each morning to put people in your pathway who need encouragement and acceptance. Look for the wallflower or the lone soul who needs a friend. Be patient (‘always keeping your temper’ AMP) in check-out lines, traffic and with slow or surly wait staff.

See that none render evil for evil unto any man, but ever follow that which is good (v. 15). Evil is simply the opposite of good. I’m guessing that in most cases you know the right (good) thing to do. Don’t let selfishness overrule your ‘good’ sense. Proverbs talks a lot about the difference between wise and foolish actions. Wisdom keeps you in God’s stream of excellence and overflow; foolishness will only get you in trouble (but you already knew that).

Rejoice evermore (v. 16). Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. Fruit grows. That means joy can grow if you’ll let it. Psalms 16:11 says in Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasure for evermore. Nehemiah said, “The joy of the LORD is your strength” (v. 8:10). In Paul’s letter to the Colossians, he said we are strengthened with all might according to His glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness. In other words, joy strengthens your patience while God works out the details of your situation. Patience and joy, partnered with faith, are unbeatable weapons in your spiritual arsenal.

Pray without ceasing (v. 17). Talk to God all day long – about everything. He wants to be involved with your life from the biggest problems to the little stuff. Constant conversation with God comforts, strengthens, encourages and edifies you. It helps maintain your peace and joy. They’re all connected.

In every thing give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (v. 18). You’ve heard this verse a gazillion times, but please note, it says in everything, not for everything. If something good happened, give thanks! If something bad happened, give thanks that God can turn it around. If you’re hoping something good will happen or you need a solution for some problem or other, thank Him in advance for the answer, money, healing or whatever you need. Thanksgiving is a form of praise, and the Bible says God inhabits [our] praises (Ps. 22:3). Thanksgiving blocks the devil’s tricks and brings God on the scene.

Quench not the Spirit (v. 19). Don’t squelch or subdue the Holy Spirit Who lives in you. Don’t ignore your conscience (His gateway into your consciousness). Remember that He is in you, no matter what you say, think or do (whether you want Him to be or not). Pay attention!

Test all things; hold fast to that which is good (v. 21). The AMP says ‘test and prove until you can recognize what is good’. Sometimes a thing can look good – and turn out to be bad. Don’t make rash or quick decisions when more time is warranted.

Forgetting this simple ‘test’ is one reason why there are so many successful scams. People are quick to jump on a ‘sure thing’ without actually checking out the facts. It can be tricky to sort out the hype from the truth, but if you’ll ask God for wisdom and then listen for direction, you can save yourself a lot of heartache and problems. Take time to make wise decisions based on God’s wisdom, not your wants or wishes.

This applies to your motivation for doing certain things, as well. Is that the best use of your time, effort, money? Does it contribute to your or someone else’s good? You’ve heard that ‘all things work together for good’, but only if seek that which is good.

Abstain from all appearance of evil (v. 22). This reinforces Paul’s instruction in verse 15. Remember the adage, “People don’t hear what you say, they see what you do”. They won’t believe what you say about Jesus if you’re not living like you believe what you say. If God is love, are you walking in love? If you believe God hears your prayers, are you worried and tense? Whatever is not of faith is sin (Rom. 14:23).

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (v. 23). Sanctified simply means ‘set apart’. God calls us a ‘peculiar people’. You aren’t supposed to look and live like the world. You should be unique, so that people recognize Jesus in you. That is God’s intent.

 Faithful is He that calleth you; He also will do it (v. 24). Wisdom allows you to acknowledge your limitations. Your part is to be faithful and to live a life of love, joy and peace. God’s part is to lead and guide your steps so that you follow His plan for your life. He will do it – not you.

Whatever you are, have or become is because of His great mercy and blessing. Every good gift and every perfect gift cometh down from the Father of Lights (James 1:17). Understanding that is the best wisdom of all.

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