Wisdom and faith… two halves of same coin?


James 1:5 If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. 6 But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.

The sense of the Greek word we translate as “wisdom” refers to cognitive ability. I don’t know if this is right, but perhaps one dimension of wisdom is knowing what to do, or not do, in a particular situation. I ask God for guidance, praying for the Lord to reveal his will for me. It can take a while, but usually there comes a point when I have a sense of what to do/where to go. It’s not like I get a text message from heaven, but generally I come to a place where I’m ready to act. This may be what the writer is referring to as “wisdom” – knowing the will of God in a particular situation.

But the problem is that I’ll then allow myself to be moved off of what I discerned from the Lord. Other people I approach to help me can have conflicting opinions. I can start to doubt my own decisions. Or, once I commit in the direction I believe the Lord wants for me, obstacles appear. Roadblocks get in my way and I get discouraged. And when that happens I become “like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind”.

I think this is why James says to “ask in faith, never doubting”. I need fortitude to move boldly when I have received guidance from the lord. And of course, both wisdom and faith are expressions of God’s grace upon which the entire thing depends.

Heavenly Father give me wisdom to discern your will today, and faith to act and not doubt. Amen.

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