Wisdom with Faith
v5 – ‘If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God.’
Now, the point I want to make is the connection is totally jointed to what we have just said. Sometimes we don’t see how it is that things work like that; how I consider it pure joy; how it brings maturity and completeness and lacking nothing. The answer, of course, is that if we are not working in life with the wisdom of God then we won’t see that. The thing that goes with faith is wisdom.
There are two great things in the Bible that are coupled with faith, like a trimaran (sailing boat with hull and two wing supports). Faith is the hull in the middle and the two tremendous wings that keep it in balance are firstly, righteousness. Right through the Scriptures you will find that faith and righteousness go hand in hand. Righteousness enables faith and faith leads to righteousness (see Hebrews 11). ‘Abraham was a righteous man and his faith was counted as righteousness.’ The other wing support is wisdom. If you are going to ask for anything with your faith, ask for wisdom. Faith without wisdom, satan can have a field day because many of us who don’t understand the ways of God; we believe that we have heard a word from God and we are lead astray into the by-paths of all sorts of diversions by satan.
‘If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault.’
The idea without finding fault is ever so simple. You don’t get it in the NIV, but it means that you can go as often as you like and God won’t say, ‘Oh, it’s you again.’ You can go to the Father as often as you like! Praise the Lord, there is one patience that overarches all of our need and that is God’s patience. God has a heart and He will always meet your need.
v 6-8 – ‘But when he asks’ – James introduces us here, of course, to a far wider principle of faith which is related to wisdom – ‘he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.’
We need to come to the Father. Do you need wisdom? – come to the Father. Do you need faith? – come to the Father. Do you need faith and wisdom – come to the Father. The Father wants to give a gift into your life today that will help you to understand what life is about! James faces this square in the face – we understand what life is about!
‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds’
It is not an accuse for us to face things that we cause through sin. The word face really means to fall into, it means things that we happen into as a result of what life is about; that we are living in a sinful world, we are part of a sinful human race. We are part of a life that has it’s ups and downs and ins and outs and roundabouts! There is nowhere in the epistle of James, that he is saying that if we bring trouble on ourselves through our disobedience to the word of God then we can take the same faith principle; we need to come and put that behind us and set the record right – ‘if any man says he has no sin, he is a liar and the truth is not in him. But if we confess our sin, he is willing and able to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ (I John 1:9) James is talking about those things that happen to us through the reality of life.
Security in Faith
Look at verses 9,10,11 – ‘The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position because he will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heart and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.’
What has that got to do with faith? It’s ever so simple. It’s just not talking about poor men and rich men, it’s talking about where you find your security today. Don’t take security in your poverty. ‘The man who is a humble person in circumstances should take pride in his high position.’ What does that mean? It means that you are in Christ Jesus. Your high position – you are just not a worm and no-man. You may say it’s alright for those with wealth and resources and they have all the power and they can do something – how can I face life when I am really nobody. God specialises in nobodies – ‘he has chosen the things that are nothing, to bring to nothing the things are’ (I Corinthians 1:28). You need to take pride in your high position. Are you going to do it? It’s the only thing that you are allowed to take pride in, is in the whole Bible. ‘The pride of life is a sin against God’, but understand your high position in Christ Jesus.
Do you know what God wants to do in your life? This is what some of us are like in spirit; inside everyone of us there is a spiritual pigmy wanting to get out, screaming to grow up – and what God wants to do, is to zip you down the front and let the pigmy out. To grow up, to get your shoulders back, to understand your dignity, and your strength and your authority in Jesus Christ. The thing that is most going to make you powerful for God is not the realisation of your sin, you need to get through that and through repentance quickly into forgiveness and power; but to be a person of faith who is confident with God.
It’s the world in the church, not the world at large which doesn’t have much of a problem with men of faith. It either loves them or crucifies them. But the world in the church – religion has a real problem with confidence, because the essence of religion says, ‘I’m no good – I must seek God.’
There was a bishop I used to work with, who used to always get annoyed with me because I said that ‘I knew Jesus’. He would say that I had no right to speak like that, it’s arrogance and pride. So I told him the Bible says – ‘I know whom I believe and I am persuaded that He is able…’ But he kept on saying it was arrogance, so I asked him if it wasn’t in his Bible!
Go and read your New Testament. You are not allowed to be proud of yourself or boast about yourself, but there is also a wrong kind of humility in religion. In Christ Jesus you are not a worm and a no-man! In Christ Jesus you are a conqueror, victorious and reigning in Jesus! We need to get rid of this false humility, it’s mealy-mouthed and the world doesn’t want this kind of religion. The world looks at it and puts it on television by speaking with a meek voice and with a kind of backward look and doesn’t allow it to come on too strong. We are living in a demonic power age! We are living with the forces of evil and they are screaming at men, we are living in the world when satan is on the rampage, and the powers of evil are capturing men – and all that we are doing is whispering about what we are! Let me tell you I’m not in that gang!
We have been called to a high position and we have to take pride in that high position! But the people who have got something should take pride in their low position – ‘let him who thinks he is something take heed, lest he fall’. You know as well as I that the whole appeal today, in money terms and everything else, is get it behind you, get some resources, get your house and your colour television, get your bank balance padded a little bit, this breeds a mentality of security. False security. It’s amazing in business when you go to buy something, and they tell you buy this today and in five years time it will be worth the same as it is today – when you trade it in, you’ll get your money back! It’s all lies, because your money will be worth ten times less in five years time than it is today! But that is what satan wants to do. If your mind is in a bondage to a security, whatever kind of security it is, you are not to be proud of that position, it is your low position in Christ that you should be proud of. This has to do with faith because faith begins when you are nothing and it takes you into God’s something.