Here’s a test:
- Your boss comes in and tells you that your services are no longer needed. What’s your greatest need at that moment?
- You put your child down for a nap and an hour later you find she’s dead. What’s your greatest need at that moment?
- You’re minding your own business and a car comes along and sideswipes your car. What’s your greatest need at that moment?
- You go to school and your best friend betrays your trust by accusing you, falsely, in front of others. What’s your greatest need at that moment?
Throughout the letter of James, a clear distinction is made between good (Godly) wisdom and evil (natural human) wisdom. In chapter 3:13-18 James says that a person whose life reflects jealousy and self-ambition has not the true wisdom of God, but is earthly-minded and unspiritual. But true God-given wisdom is “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” In other words, Godly wisdom is the possession of God and it is something for which His children can seek and find. That’s why Luke could say what he does about Jesus in Luke 2:52.
That’s what we are going to be talking about this week as we dig into James 1:5-8. So many come to verse 5 and try to apply it to all kinds of understandings. But James is specific. He’s talking about “counting” or “considering” all trials a joy (v. 2). What he’s saying is that there’s only one way to do that and that’s to have a new perspective that only divine wisdom can give us.
Last week we talked about what positive things trials can provide us. This week we’re going to talk about how we access them. In preparation for Sunday’s message, “Wisdom for Trouble”, you may wish to consider the following:
- What does James tell us about wisdom in verse 5?
- How does verse 5 flow directly from verses 2-4?
- How does his meeting with the resurrected Jesus in I Corinthians 15:7 relate to what James is saying?
- Do you think it’s cruel in the face of someone’s pain and anguish over a trial, to tell someone they don’t know enough?
- How is the severity and effect of a trial defined by our perspective?
- Why does James put a condition on our prayer in verse 6?
- What does it mean to ask for wisdom while you have doubts?
- The Book of Proverbs says that a fool is not aware of his foolishness. Is a wise man aware of his?
- How is outrage at suffering a sign that there’s eternal life?
- Did Jesus ever pray for wisdom in the midst of His trials?