This is the 2nd post on James regarding the wisdom that God grants to us when we ask for it in faith. What does asking and receiving that “wisdom from heaven,” actually look like today?
Sometimes it comes directly to our hearts through prayer, as I mentioned in my last post. Sometimes there is a delay, so that the Lord may teach us something we didn’t think we needed to know. Both of those I dealt with here in Part I.
But another way that wisdom comes to us when we ask in faith is through reading. Let me suggest two ways God has answered my prayer for wisdom through reading.
1.) His Word. This is so obvious that it often gets forgotten. Protestants, more so than traditional Catholics (though I’ve met numbers of Catholics who can espouse grace by faith and read the bible for themselves), have traditionally fought for the freedom they have in Christ to read the bible for themselves. Many other evangelical traditions will fight to the death about the bible’s infallibility, but rarely touch the good book during the week. Do you see the irony here of what such actions are actually saying: “It’s God’s Word, without error, true on all it claims to be true, and is relevant even today, but I’m not going to actually read it.” Hmmm…..It’s worth defending, and even more so, it’s worth reading.
Yet so much of the wisdom we need today for parenting, honoring Christ at work, living among our neighbors is found in God’s Word. Sometimes you can use a reference bible and look up particular verses on particular issues you feel more pressing. But for the most part, regular reading, just simply reading through books of the bible, and asking God’s blessing through His Spirit (we call that “illumination”), is a normal way in which God answers this prayer for wisdom.
2.) Books, articles, etc…
Some folks may go overboard and become “biblio-philes” (lover of books) and only rely on books for knowledge, and skip prayer and simply reading God’s Word. However, many folks can also fail to receive God’s Wisdom because they fail to read other books or articles. Whether its early church fathers, Reformers, Puritans, or writers of today, there is a plethora of wisdom out there if we’d ask God to show it to us through His People. I recommend keeping a rotation of books/articles which graciously (not angrily or legalistically-I just wonder if such writers are really writing with the Spirit of Christ) covers all areas of wisdom: the “Head” (theology), the “Heart” (personal devotional wisdom), and “Hands” (how to live that wisdom out in life).
The book of James emphasizes the latter component of wisdom, as does Proverbs.
In summary, there’s lots of wisdom out there. Just ask God, pray, read, and believe. One thing that Proverbs teaches us is that while we ask for wisdom, we must seek it out, and reading is a great way.