Devotion #196

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. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

James 1:5-8 ESV

God promises to give wisdom to us generously, without reproach, but it’s important to understand the meaning and purpose of biblical wisdom. We know James wrote these words immediately following his instruction to endure trials with joy, so the wisdom that is generously available to us is the wisdom to find joy in our trials. As so many who have gone before us, we can know the supernatural peace and comfort that comes with feeling the very presence of our Lord in our struggles. When we are enduring a difficult season in our marriage, God’s offers the wisdom to know how to walk through those valleys together.

But we need to be clear on exactly what that wisdom includes. Many mistakenly believe that they can or need to seek God’s wisdom for decisions that He is actually leaving up to you. Biblical wisdom does not necessarily help us decide which college to go to, which job to accept, which house to buy. It’s true that His wisdom may have an influence on those decisions, but the reality is if the decision doesn’t conflict with Scripture in any way, then the choice is yours to make. 

Simply speaking, biblical wisdom focuses on living in obedience to God’s will as revealed in Scripture. In other words, the wisdom God gives generously is His word. Scripture tells us a lot about the foolish man, with many words written about him in Proverbs. The foolish man lacks the wisdom of God because He acts in opposition to God’s commandments, lives according to human wisdom, and spends little, if any, time in God’s Word. By contrast, the wise man lives according to God’s will and in obedience to God’s commandments. The wise men seeks counsel from God’s Word daily by choosing to spend quiet moments alone with Scripture. The wise man understands the peace that washes over you as you face difficult decisions, and knows how to find unspeakable joy in seasons of trial.

Over the years, I have counseled many young adults who seek to be married. They deeply desire to share their lives with someone who loves them unconditionally, so they search for someone who shows them the kind of attention their heart longs for. When the desire is strong, the wait can seem long, so when someone does come along that makes their heart flutter, they think that they must be the one. They may even go so far as seeking wisdom about whether or not they should marry—that’s often how they end up in conversation with me. Should I marry this man? I think this is the woman I’ve waited for—God must want for us to marry!

Yet, when I drill down on the relationship, I often discover the person they hope to marry doesn’t have an active faith, or any at all. The person sitting before me will often try to convince me that this potential spouse is open to knowing God, or that they’re willing to attend church, and they believe their love will be enough to carry them until they come to their own faith. When I open 2 Corinthians 6:14 in front them, Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?, the wisdom that is generously poured out on us without reproach is there right in front of them. Yet, I often encounter resistance. We don’t want His wisdom when it contradicts our desires or decisions. Living outside the boundaries of this wisdom is how we become the foolish; it’s how we lose our joy.

Many similar difficult decisions are met with I need to pray about it. Whether you’re asked to serve in church or forgive your spouse for an injury caused by their sin, there often is no need to pray about it. The answers are in Scripture. God will not reveal any new wisdom to you than He hasn’t already given us in prayer. He’s already poured out all the wisdom we need to make these difficult decisions. Likewise, if you seek His wisdom for when you should have a child, or if you should buy that house with your spouse, you’ll likely find little wisdom in Scripture. Though there may be wisdom found in Scripture that addresses a motivation behind your decision, God simply does not specifically tell us where to live or how many kids to have. 

The wisdom God provides to us generously without reproach is peace and joy in the struggle. Spend time in God’s Word daily, and your marriage will be blessed with His wisdom when you choose to live in obedience to His will.

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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