James 1:5-6

Thoughts from Katie Fox

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Swipe Immanuel
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If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.

James 1:5-6

BTS Immanuel
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When we consider Jesus as the promised “wonderful counselor” from the Isaiah 9 prophecy, what do we envision? In a Biblical context, counselors were often those who advised kings and rulers. A counselor gives advice and instruction to guide the recipient in taking the best course of action. It should come as no surprise that the Bible goes out of its way to note that God has no counselor: “Who can fathom the Spirit of the LORD, or instruct the LORD as His counselor?” Isaiah 40:13. God is the ultimate counselor from whom all wisdom flows.

Slide

But don’t miss this: A counselor doesn’t force you to follow his direction or choice. Counsel is given, not coerced. In today’s scripture, James tells us to ask God for wisdom and God “gives generously”. But he leads with “if you lack wisdom”. Throughout the human course of history, this has been a stumbling block. Humanity doesn’t recognize that it lacks discernment and understanding, or it searches for it in all the wrong places. Many times, God is not part of the solution, and the results are disastrous both on a global scale and on individual scale.

Slide

James takes it one step further, recognizing that the asking is done in faith. Asking God for clarity, then doubting He will deliver results is likened to a mindset being tossed around like a wave at the mercy of the wind. The wind can drive waves relentlessly onto the beach battering away even rock over time. The wave is controlled by the direction of the wind, going east one day and then west the next. The illustration paints a picture of frustration, and anxiety.

MIR Immanuel
Slide

Ok, I admit that was a little bit of a downer. But James’ letter is filled with many convicting do’s and don’ts that point us to what a faith lived out looks like. Remember the context is that we, as believers in Christ, have a “wonderful counselor”. God knows man will follow his own wisdom and that without divine intervention, will fall again and again. The promise of a Messiah that not only gives wisdom freely but whom we can delight in as “wonderful” is the act of a loving God!

Slide

If you were to take a survey on wisdom, my guess is that the vast majority would love to have it because it would mean making smart decisions that generate wealth or fame. But godly wisdom is so much more than making a right decision, isn’t it? A series of right decisions don’t guarantee earthly benefits. On the other hand, wealth doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve made wise decisions in God’s eyes.

Slide

Without Jesus, the way is still blocked by our sin and the God’s spirit is not in us. But because of Jesus, we have access to the Father and His Spirit resides in us. We simply ask and God is faithful to answer. We simply ask and the wonderfulness of Jesus can manifest through us. We simply ask and the counsel of Jesus is available. We simply ask.

EIP Immanuel
Slide

Dear Heavenly Father,

May my time of prayer be about asking. May I humbly approach you with my troubles and know that you will give me guidance. Give me that guidance now in this day. Guide my steps so they honor you. Guide my words so they honor others made in the image of You. Keep me in Your Word, so that I may see through the schemes of the Evil One, who distorts Your truth with false wisdom. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

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If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.  

James 1:5-6

Behind the Scenes

When we consider Jesus as the promised “wonderful counselor” from the Isaiah 9 prophecy, what do we envision? In a Biblical context, counselors were often those who advised kings and rulers. A counselor gives advice and instruction to guide the recipient in taking the best course of action. It should come as no surprise that the Bible goes out of its way to note that God has no counselor: “Who can fathom the Spirit of the LORD, or instruct the LORD as His counselor?” Isaiah 40:13. God is the ultimate counselor from whom all wisdom flows. 

But don’t miss this: A counselor doesn’t force you to follow his direction or choice. Counsel is given, not coerced. In today’s scripture, James tells us to ask God for wisdom and God “gives generously”. But he leads with “if you lack wisdom”.  Throughout the human course of history, this has been a stumbling block. Humanity doesn’t recognize that it lacks discernment and understanding, or it searches for it in all the wrong places. Many times, God is not part of the solution, and the results are disastrous both on a global scale and on individual scale. 

James takes it one step further, recognizing that the asking is done in faith. Asking God for clarity, then doubting He will deliver results is likened to a mindset being tossed around like a wave at the mercy of the wind. The wind can drive waves relentlessly onto the beach battering away even rock over time. The wave is controlled by the direction of the wind, going east one day and then west the next. The illustration paints a picture of frustration, and anxiety. 

Make It Real

Ok, I admit that was a little bit of a downer. But James’ letter is filled with many convicting do’s and don’ts that point us to what a faith lived out looks like.  Remember the context is that we, as believers in Christ, have a “wonderful counselor”. God knows man will follow his own wisdom and that without divine intervention, will fall again and again.  The promise of a Messiah that not only gives wisdom freely but whom we can delight in as “wonderful” is the act of a loving God!  

If you were to take a survey on wisdom, my guess is that the vast majority would love to have it because it would mean making smart decisions that generate wealth or fame.  But godly wisdom is so much more than making a right decision, isn’t it? A series of right decisions don’t guarantee earthly benefits. On the other hand, wealth doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve made wise decisions in God’s eyes. 

Without Jesus, the way is still blocked by our sin and the God’s spirit is not in us. But because of Jesus, we have access to the Father and His Spirit resides in us. We simply ask and God is faithful to answer. We simply ask and the wonderfulness of Jesus can manifest through us. We simply ask and the counsel of Jesus is available. We simply ask. 

Danny Venhaus

Danny Venhaus

ACF Operations Director

End in Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, 

May my time of prayer be about asking. May I humbly approach you with my troubles and know that you will give me guidance. Give me that guidance now in this day. Guide my steps so they honor you. Guide my words so they honor others made in the image of You. Keep me in Your Word, so that I may see through the schemes of the Evil One, who distorts Your truth with false wisdom.  In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen. 

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