If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5
To gain wisdom from God all we have to do is ask. All we have to do is ask? When I first read this verse I was so discouraged, because many times I’ve cried out to God asking for wisdom with seemingly no answer. I didn’t understand why, if God gives wisdom to those who ask for it, I hadn’t received the wisdom I so desperately want. After further examining the context of this verse, I was hit with the harsh truth that I wasn’t really asking for wisdom in the first place.
I cry out for wisdom, but what I really want is knowledge for my own selfish gain. I don’t desire to know God more fully, so I can fall deeper in love with Him. I don’t want to know how to preserver through trials, so the testing of my faith can make me mature and complete. Instead, I want to know what I’m supposed to do with my life. I want to know where I’m going to be in ten years. And, while God does want us to ask Him for those types of things too, I’m usually not asking for the right reasons. I don’t want this knowledge to bring more glory to God. What I really want is for God to show me the future so my life will be easier.
When I ask God to reveal these things to me, I think I’m asking for wisdom. But, the knowledge I seek is earthly and perishable. Like the grass and the flowers, it will wither and fall (1 Peter 1:24). It’s not lasting, eternal knowledge, but I still seek it above all else. I put it above God and the wisdom He grants. I make it an idol that I bow down to and worship. God offers me wisdom to persevere through trials making me mature and complete, lacking nothing, and I still choose to ask for selfish knowledge instead.
In order to really desire the wisdom James is talking about in this verse, I have to take my eyes of earthly things and put them on God. Like Paul said in Colossians 3, I have to set my mind on the things above. It’s not always easy, most of the time it is actually really hard. Earthy things are easy to focus on because they are right here. I can see them and feel them and experience them now. I can see how having knowledge about my future would make my life easier right now, here on earth.
But God knows that the immediate gain I would experience from the knowledge I seek is not really what I ultimately need. He can see the whole picture of eternity and knows that having wisdom to persevere is really what will benefit me. It is what will make me mature and complete.
I need to trust that God knows best and fix my eyes on the things that He says are important. I need to set aside the selfish desires I have, so I am able to experience every blessing God has for my life. I don’t think this will ever be easy, but I know with God I can do it because I have died and my life is now hidden in Christ (Colossians 3:3)