James 1:5 – Living Wisely

Review- The believer can meet trials of various kinds with joy because he understands or knows the reason behind trials: 1) they produce steadfastness; 2) they mature us. Ponder on 2 Pet.1.

A closer look at James 1:5

  1. Not all believers are able to live wisely or are living wisely — this is indicated in verse 5a when James says, “IF any of you lack wisdom…” —The “wisdom” spoken of here is set in the context of daily life in relation to the trials that come. This “wisdom,” therefore, can be defined as “the proper application” of the proper knowledge and understanding of God and His will, as revealed in the Bible. “Right doctrine. Right living.” (It is important to acknowledge that we all experience a lack of wisdom, as was experienced by the disciples when they faced a storm at sea. They became anxious and fearful, although Jesus was with them on the boat! This leads us to the next important truth….
  2. A believer’s deficiency can only be supplied by God— this is indicated in verse 5b when James says, literally, “let the believer keep on asking for wisdom.” This portion of the verse is actually given as a command to the believer if he lacks wisdom. Indeed, the Lord knows our inadequacy; and, if He chooses to do so, He can certainly give us wisdom without our asking. However, ponder upon the manner in which this verse is written. It is in the present active, meaning that God desires for us to come to Him on a regular, continual basis. In other words, we are to be constantly dependent upon Him. To those that ask continually for wisdom, the God who gives generously will grant wisdom. This act of God, in the original, places emphasis not just on what God does, but on who He is— that is, His character. The verse could be understood in this way—“Go and ask wisdom from God who is generous.” Recall how that we are on the receiving end when it comes to everything we have— our life is given by God, our salvation is given by God— He is the great Provider. AND when He gives, it is with the purest intention. He “gives generously to all without reproach.” 

Ponder on the words of this hymn:

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

Three principles gleaned from this morning, among others:

  1. Live wisely—live out what we know of God and of His will 
  2. Learn faithfully—know God and His will through the diligent study of His Word, the Bible
  3. Depend constantly— pray to God unceasingly, for we deceive ourselves if we think we can live independently of God. 

Listen to the sermon here.

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