“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” James 1:5-6
“Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.” Proverbs 4:5
Lots of us pray to God for wisdom, don’t we? We even pray a fancy prayer sometimes like, “Please God give me wisdom and discernment.” After all, we know we need to know God’s will to do God’s will. We need wisdom in order to obey. And, per the Bible, if we really love God, we will obey God (John 14:23). Sure, the Bible from start to finish is filled with God’s wisdom and instructions for our lives. But God also gives each of us individually personal wisdom regarding how He desires us to fill our everyday lives in order to please Him and bring glory to Him, and to fulfill His specific purpose for us as individuals. He orders our steps and guides us along His pathway (Psalm 37:23).
So it makes sense to pray for wisdom. So much so, in fact, that God actually makes us a promise that He’ll give us wisdom “liberally” when we ask Him in faith for wisdom. So how then when we pray for wisdom can that not be sufficient? How can wisdom possibly have a necessary partner? Isn’t wisdom on its own enough? Shouldn’t we just be able to pray for wisdom, for God’s will, and be done with it, going off on our merry way? Not so!
Wisdom’s necessary partner is willingness, for wisdom without willingness doesn’t get us very far, does it? See, lots of us really do pray for wisdom, to know God’s will for our lives, and in specific situations, at certain times in our lives, even for some of us every day we pray for it. The trouble begins when we pray for wisdom and then pick and choose what wisdom the Lord gives us that we actually will hear and obey. Some of us look to heaven like a grab bag. We greedily, hungrily grab at the bag, stuff our hand into it, pull out God’s will, and then stuff His will for us, His wisdom for us, back into the bag, tossing it back to heaven, shoving it back at God, if His will for us is not to our liking, is not pleasing to our flesh, doesn’t fit with our dreams and plans. Then we cry out to God again for wisdom, for His will, at some point anyway, stuff our hand back in the bag, and see if the next time we’re pleased with His will and will choose to follow it. Like we’re lord of our own lives.
If we are wise, we will love and fear God, revere and honor Him, trusting He is sovereign and knows what is best, and not just calling Jesus Christ Lord, but submitting ourselves to His glorious Lordship forever!