One of my favorite books of the bible is James. I love the honesty, the openness, the in your face, if you will. James seems to understand the magnitude of understanding and wisdom. He understands just how much our lives need direction and where we should go for that direction. The Lord is our compass for life, and James clearly teaches us this in every scripture. There are so many gold nuggets in James. Each scripture just seems to speak to me at a different day and time in my life. I know I can go to James and find understanding and wisdom. Don't you love how God gives you just what you need when you need it?
As I begin reading James, the verses that stood out to me this week are James 1:5-6. I usually study out of my New King James Study Bible, but I would like to take the scripture from the New Century Version today.
James 1:5-6 " But if any of you needs wisdom, you should ask God for it. He is generous to everyone and will give you wisdom without criticizing you. But when you ask God, you must believe and not doubt."
I love how James has just such a knack for using everyday situations and life circumstances to teach us more, to teach us to grow in the Lord and go to Him for our needs.
All those days I sat in a classroom hearing the teacher say, "Does anyone have a question?" and never raising my hand are too many to count. Do you remember those days where you allowed your pride to over rule your humility? Being young is tough, and being in a room filled with young people can at times be hurtful. But again it was a time of growth for me. Having the teacher ask if you had a question and trying to decide if it was worth raising your hand or not was a dilemma I found myself in many days. For me, leaving there without having my question answered far outweighed the laughter of those around me, but was I gaining anything, really? No, I was hurting myself far more than I knew. So, I would hold my hand down, leave and try to figure it out on my own. We can just say, I didn't receive my paper back with an "A". I took the lower grade over my humility.
In my case I would leave confused, wondering what the next step was. Trying to figure it all out on my own just wasn't working. It still doesn't work today.
Here I was in school to learn, a place filled with knowledge, and many times I just sat, left in the dark on a subject, and you know, it wasn't anyone fault but my own. In keeping my hand down and not asking only brought more questions and more confusion. I seemed to take the long road to wisdom. You know, that long, curvy one, instead of the narrow path. As I got older it was then that I realized I was only hurting myself by not asking questions. Was my pride really going to take me further than my humility? All the time I kept my hand down were missed opportunities, missed opportunities for growth. That is a kicker to ponder over isn't it? The more the knowledge and wisdom we have the more complete we are in Christ. The more we are complete in Him, the more we understand about ourselves.
If you know me well today, you know I never let an opportunity to have more knowledge pass me by. I still raise my hand in Sunday School. If I don't understand something I never allow my pride to get in the way, I ask away. Although many times when asked a question, I may give the wrong answer, but I won't leave there without the right one. I seem to ask questions all the time, about everything. I'm the girl who loves to learn. I wish today I could go back and raise my hand all the times I let slip away. Maybe that is where these sixteen years of home schooling comes in. Maybe God was giving me another opportunity to learn.
I have always taught my children, "There is only one dumb question, and that is the question not asked." Here in James he is sharing with us about needing wisdom. If we don't understand, if we are looking for answers, why not just ask God? The Lord wants us to grow. He wants us to spend time with Him and His word gain knowledge. In that knowledge we gain understanding and in that understanding we earn wisdom. Wisdom doesn't come cheap. We have situations, trials, struggles, circumstances that effect our lives daily. With the right wisdom don't you think our lives would be much sweeter, more calm, and certainly contain more peace? I do. I know that everything that comes into my life is not of my own failures, but sometimes it is. Sometimes those trials I am going through are consequences for actions I didn't think through, or just looked to myself for the answer.
Ever have a friend that you value their opinion? There is no greater friend than Jesus and no greater opinion than His. His wisdom brings value to our lives. As we walk with Him, we learn so much and the amazing thing is the less talking we do, the more we learn. I know I can talk and talk and talk, but when I hush, I can then hear His sweet words of wisdom.
He doesn't care how many times we raise our hands. He isn't going to laugh at our questions. But He will be honored we came to Him and He will bless us with the wisdom we need. As we leave fear behind, our pride also, the more humble we are and the more we learn from Him.
Now, when we ask of God for answers, we can't walk away doubting the truth in them. We must believe in Him. There are going to be times we don't like the answers, but as the truth sets us free, wisdom lets us soar!
The best way to learn is to spend time with God yourself. As He is that Friend you want to walk with daily. His word is our guide through the forest. With His compass leading us, we can see past the trees and onto the other side.
Just as children seem to ask "Why" a thousand times a day until you think your going to pull your hair out, I am sure Jesus still has all His in His perfect patience. In Him we find all we need to succeed. And to succeed is to live in Him with a passion and wisdom to always light the way.