In our information-rich age, wisdom is in short supply. Information gives us knowledge, but wisdom is the ability to choose the right information and know how to use it to bless people and glorify God, at just the right time. Some people think that they will become wise with much study, but that only gives them more information. Others try to copy a wise hero or much-loved grandparent: they formulate ways of doing things (a set of rules) which sometimes work - but cannot make the person wise (just an impersonator or mimic).
True wisdom can only come from God. He is the only one who understands how everybody, and everything, should relate together; and how to make the right thing happen ... every time! So, it should be obvious that if we do not have that understanding, we should ask God. Almost everyone will pray at some time, but only those who know they belong to Jesus have the confidence that He will hear and guide them so that they will be able to act wisely (James 3:13). When God responds to our cry for wisdom, He does so generously: and He doesn't call us 'stupid' for not knowing what to do, nor criticise us for forgetting the answer we received last time. God knows that we cannot manage without Him. As a true Father, He is very pleased with His children who admit their limitations and ask for help (Matthew 11:28).
Jesus Christ is described as the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24, 30). James would have seen how his elder half-brother, Jesus, handled situations in the sibling group (Matthew 13:55) and in the family carpentry business. The Lord is very generous and gives what we cannot earn or deserve, including wisdom which He gives to His people because He loves them (Ephesians 1:7-8).
Hard times intensify our need for wisdom, but our pride often insists on creating our own solutions ... which will inevitably fail. Instead, when troubles come, we should humbly admit that we do not know the best thing to do, and simply ask the Lord (Proverbs 3:5-6). Of course, it is not only about us finding solutions for our circumstances at work, at home and in the church. It is about us being equipped to be like Jesus and represent Him in a troubled world which dislikes true wisdom: but everybody needs Him and His wisdom! Indeed, every crisis will get worse when we fail to ask Him. You may be highly trained with academic and professional qualifications, or experienced by many years in business or as a homemaker, but when you need wisdom today, ask the Lord. He has promised to make His answer clear. And the more we ask, the more wisdom we get, until that becomes the normal habit of our working (and domestic) life.
© Dr Paul Adams