Ask the giving God (James 1:5)
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (Jas. 1:5 ESV)
James ended verse 4 with a word on lacking nothing and then picks up in verse 5 with a word about lacking something. So, what is the connection? He has just stated that trials are meant to produce steadfastness and steadfastness when it has its full effect brings about maturity, perfection, completeness – one who is lacking in nothing. But we all know that trials don’t always seem to bring about steadfastness. Why? Wisdom is lacking. If trials are to have their designed end, then wisdom is required to see the trials the way James commands us to see them. It requires wisdom to count trials as all joy. It takes wisdom to not only know that God intends the trials to strengthen our faith but also to remember this truth and live it out in the middle of the trial.
So often when trials come, we do not count it all joy but rather count it as irritation, frustration, unnecessary, inconvenient, unwanted. Trials often squeeze out of us anger, fear, worry, doubt, harsh words, withdrawal, retaliation, etc. If we are to respond in faith to the trials, we must ask for wisdom from God. Wisdom from God will give us the right corrective lenses so that we see the trials properly. Wisdom from God will help us to count (make a mental judgement) it all joy when we face trials of various kinds (all different types). Wisdom from God will give us the right mindset, the right thinking, required to consider trials as all joy. If we are to obey God in this matter, we must ask God for wisdom so that when trials come and squeeze us what comes out is faithfulness, what comes out is a righteous response to the circumstances, so that what comes out is pleasing to God.
What does James go on to tells us? If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God. We have considered the “let him ask God” part but notice how James describes God.
1) who gives
– literally “the giving God”
– literally “simply” – it is a pure gift in that it is not given in return for a previous favor, and it is not given in expectation of a future favor – it is not given because it is owed, and it is not given in order to place another in his debt
– it is given simply as a gift – no strings attached
3) to all
– that is to all God’s children who ask
– it is not distributed based on anything within the person
– he gives without any partiality – rich/poor, strong/weak, known/unknown, etc.
4) without reproach – without finding fault
So, James tells us that if any of us lacks wisdom we are to ask the giving God who gives with no strings attached to all His children without regard to anything in them and without finding fault.
The result? “And it will be given him.”
Ask God for wisdom to rightly see the trials you face, and God will grant that wisdom. Consider these words from John Calvin. “Since we see that the Lord does not so require from us what is above our strength, but that he is ready to help us, provided we ask, let us, therefore, learn whenever he commands anything, to ask of him the power to perform it.”
Friends do you lack the wisdom required to count it all joy when you face trials of various kinds? Heed the words of James. Ask the giving God. He is a God who gives with no strings attached and without finding fault. Ask God for the wisdom needed and He will supply it.
God does grant the wisdom requested but one must ask in a certain way. Lord willing, next month’s blog will pick up where we leave off today and will consider how one must ask for wisdom.
By His Grace Alone,