One of the most important lessons that we have learned from the book of James is the value he places on seeking the Lord for wisdom. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” When we come to know Jesus by grace through faith, God does give us a new heart and a new frame of mind towards Him; however, that new frame of mind still needs to be informed. In other words, wisdom is not automatically given to Christians.
As I was preparing for Wednesday night’s lesson on Proverbs, this same truth stood out to me in Proverbs 2:3-4, which says, “Yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasure.” This is a picture of a person who intentionally asks the Lord for wisdom – one who seeks the Lord for understanding.
Commentator David Hubbard says it this way: “There is nothing automatic about going wisdom’s way; one does not drift into it lazily; it takes a deliberate decision to begin and constant attention later to follow wisdom.”
Ultimately, asking God for wisdom comes through the means of prayer. And as Charles Spurgeon once said, “Prayer must not occur by happenstance, but should be our daily habit, business, and vocation. Just as artists focus themselves completely on their models and poets commit themselves to their classical pursuits, we must become addicted to prayer. We must be immersed in prayer until it becomes as natural as breathing; until we ‘pray without ceasing.’”
Scriptures and statements like these should make each one of us ask, “Am I being faithful to ask the Lord for wisdom and understanding? Or am I lazy with these requests?” One of my favorite phrases from Hubbard above is “deliberate decision.” This teaches us that our asking must be intentional, passionate, and devoted. As we see from Proverbs, a person who is looking for silver is devoted to his task. A person who is seeking a treasure has a burning desire to find it. It should be the same with Christians as we seek the Lord for wisdom.
And while we understand our responsibility of seeking the Lord, let us never forget that wisdom is a gift – it ultimately comes from the Lord. Proverbs 2:6 says, “For the Lord gives wisdom.” And yet, while the Lord generously gives His wisdom, he still commands us to ask Him for it. Let’s be faithful in seeking the Lord.