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. — James 1:5
Have you ever had a time in your life when you needed answers for a problem you were facing, but it seemed that you just couldn’t come up with the right solution? Even though you tried hard to figure things out, did it seem like the right answer to your problem kept eluding you?
In our own ministry, I have found myself baffled in this way on several occasions. When I face one of those moments, I claim James 1:5 and go to God for wisdom. I have even brought our top leadership together so we could corporately pray to get God’s wisdom on how best to confront and conquer the challenge we were facing.
James 1:5 promises that if we will go to Him when we need wisdom, He will give us the answers we need! This verse says, “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
If you’ve ever faced a time when you lacked:
- Wisdom about how to pay your bills;
- Wisdom about how to deal with debt;
- Wisdom about how to reverse a decline you were experiencing in your business;
- Wisdom about how to resolve challenges with your children;
- Wisdom about how to fix things between you and your spouse;
- Wisdom about how to get along with your boss or fellow employees;
- Wisdom about how to make key decisions that affect your future — then the word “lack” in James 1:5 perfectly describes you!
You see, the word “lack” is the Greek word leipo, a Greek word that pictures a deficit of some kind. In our modern-day language, we might call this a shortfall, a shortage, a scarcity, or a deficiency. For instance, people often speak of a “shortfall” of finances. When they experience such a financial shortfall, it greatly impairs their ability to do business as necessary. Or when a city experiences an electrical blackout, they experience a “shortage” of electrical power. This kind of shortage paralyzes the whole city and has a powerfully negative effect on people’s lives.
For example, when my family first moved to the Soviet Union at the end of the Soviet period of Perestroika, there was a scarcity or deficit of almost every kind of product. For instance, it was very problematic to find sugar, flour, eggs, milk, butter, meat, and gasoline to purchase. We would search store after store, trying to find these nearly non-existent products. If items did suddenly become available, the news raced across the city so fast that long lines of people almost instantaneously formed around the store and down the street. Citizens would stand in those lines for hours at a time, clinging to the hope that there would be enough of these products to last until they reached the front of the line. However, those at the end of the lines usually went home disappointed, for whenever a product did suddenly become available, it usually arrived in very small quantities.
In fact, if a person didn’t have in his possession the government-issued “ration coupons” necessary to obtain these basic products, he couldn’t purchase them at all. Once a person’s monthly supply of those coupons were used up, it was impossible for him to go back to the store to get more until the next month. Thus, when a person’s coupons ran out, so did his ability to get any of these basic essentials. This meant that people were very careful about how they used sugar, flour, eggs, milk, butter, meat, and gasoline.
This was life when I first moved my family to the USSR. The system was economically broken, and the scarcity or deficit that existed was so far-reaching, it affected the entire nation. I can tell you from personal experience that when this kind of scarcity exists, it has a great effect on one’s ability to live and to function normally.
These kinds of scarcities and deficits could be described by the Greek word leipo, which is translated “lack” in the King James Version of James 1:5. But the “lack” James is referring to is not sugar, flour, eggs, milk, butter, meat, or gasoline. James says, “If any of you lack wisdom.…”
A lack of “wisdom” is the most devastating kind of deficit a person or nation can face, for wisdom has the answers, the solutions, and the principles that are needed to reverse any situation and turn it around for the better. A person is at a great disadvantage when he is void of wisdom about how to pay his bills and conquer debt; how to reverse a decline in his business; how to resolve challenges with his children, his spouse, his boss, or his coworkers; or how to make key decisions that will affect his future. When a person lacks this kind of wisdom, it nearly paralyzes him, because he doesn’t know what to do!
When James says, “If any of you lack wisdom,” the word “wisdom” is the Greek word sophias. This word sophias could describe enlightenment, insight, or even special insight.
Just because someone has a university degree doesn’t mean he possesses wisdom. I assure you that there are many stupid university graduates in the world. Although they are intellectually bright and have diplomas hanging all over the walls of their homes and offices, many of them have an approach to life that is totally impractical and fruitless. They theorize all day long but never get anything done. On the other hand, there are many down-to-earth people who never had the privilege of going to college but possess so much wisdom that they’ve become very successful in life.
You need to treat education like it is important, for it definitely is. However, you also need to understand that having an education is not the equivalent of having wisdom. Education gives you information and facts; but wisdom gives you principles, solutions, and answers. Wisdom gives you special insight that helps you know what to do. Wisdom contains the principles that will lead you out of that baffling situation and into a place where things begin to work again! Wisdom guides you to do what is right. Man has education; but God has wisdom.
Are you experiencing a time in your life right now when you need wisdom about a particular situation? Even though you’ve studied and tried to find solutions on your own, have those solutions been evading you? If so, it’s time for you to get a good dose of wisdom from on High! That’s why James says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God.…”
The word “ask” is the Greek word aiteo. As noted earlier (see March 23), the word aiteo means to be adamant in requesting and demanding assistance to meet tangible needs, such as food, shelter, money, and so forth. This person may insist or demand that a certain need be met, but he approaches his superior with respect and honor as he makes his very strong request. The word aiteo also expresses the idea that the one asking has a full expectation to receive what has been firmly requested.
When James tells us to “ask” God for the wisdom we need, the Greek tense used is a command. This plainly means God isn’t suggesting that we come to Him for wisdom; He is commanding us to do so!
When these words are used together in one phrase, it could be translated:
“If anyone lacks insight, let him firmly request it.…”
“If anyone has a shortage of wisdom, he should demand it.…”
“If anyone is baffled and doesn’t know what to do, he should be bold to ask.…”
You see, God wants you to come to Him for wisdom first instead of trying to figure things out on your own. Instead of relying on your education and the books on your shelf to give you the answers you need, go to God first and firmly ask Him for wisdom. Approach Him with respect and honor, but also be bold. As a child of God, you have a right to request wisdom from God when you need it!
When your mind is suddenly enlightened and you miraculously see exactly what you need to do or what steps you need to take, those problems that have seemed so mountainous will melt before you. You see, your biggest problem is not the one that is staring you right in the face. Your biggest problem is your lack of wisdom about how to deal with that situation.
So rather than continue to struggle in your own strength, why don’t you go to God and ask Him to give you the necessary wisdom to conquer the situation you are facing in your life right now? As a child of God, you have every right to ask Him. In fact, God commands you to come to Him when you lack wisdom! So take a few minutes today to obey that command. Ask God to give you the wisdom you need!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, help me to come to You when I find myself lacking answers about situations that need to be changed in my life. When I have done all I know to do and don’t know what else to do, remind me that every answer I need resides with You. Your wisdom holds the answers I am looking for; therefore, I am making the decision to come to You now so You can start speaking to me!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I boldly confess that I go to the Father when I need wisdom from above. He has the answers to all my problems, and He is standing before me, ready to help. God is on my side. He wants to help me. He is waiting for me to come into His Presence so He can give me the wisdom I need to confront and overcome every situation I am facing right now. God wants me to succeed, and His wisdom is what I need to achieve what is in my heart. So rather than try to figure it all out on my own, I run to the Father and ask Him for wisdom — and He is swift to give me the wisdom I need!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. When was the last time you drew near to the Lord and asked Him to give you the wisdom you need for the situations you were facing at that moment?
2. Have you gotten so busy that you often forget to seek God in your affairs?
3. If you suddenly received the answers and the wisdom you need for the situations you are facing right now, what kind of change would this bring to your life?