Master The Steps To Gaining Wisdom
“I need wisdom and direction” is one of the most common requests I hear from people when I ask how I can pray for them.
People who desire to follow Jesus, develop spiritual disciplines, and fulfill God’s purpose can still be stuck in life, standing at a crossroads. Here’s how to finish well in your walk of faith with God.
This passage in James gives us clear instructions on what to do when we need wisdom:
“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind” (James 1:5-6).
Here are five steps to take when you need wisdom:
1) Identify the specific crossroad.
The need for wisdom often surfaces when we’re at crucial crossroads in life, a decision point where you need clarity for uncertainty. Here are a few examples of crucial crossroads:
– Career decisions. Choosing a career path or making a job transition is a decision point that causes a person to consider their passions, skills, long-term goals, and the impact on their family.
– Relationship conflict. Relationships can be complex and create conflict. Conflict reveals the need for wisdom to gain perspectives and how to work toward resolution.
– Life transitions. A significant life transition (such as retirement), major health issues, midlife crises, or losing a loved one requires wisdom to adapt to a new normal.
– Ethical and moral dilemmas. Life often presents situations where doing what is right has a cost. Making an unwise choice has lasting negative consequences.
Identifying your specific crucial crossroad prepares you for the next step.
2) Ask God first.
If you’re anything like me, I need continual reminders to ask God for wisdom. I tend to ask a trusted friend or try to figure it out in my head, but the first step is to ask God. He is generous and will not rebuke you for asking. Watch this message on where to find godly wisdom in your life.
Once you have asked God for wisdom, look for how he may answer that prayer.
3) Don’t doubt God’s willingness to help.
“I know he’s able, but is he willing?” I can imagine this was the question that the man with leprosy had when he came to Jesus. Mark’s Gospel records this man coming to Jesus and begging to be healed, saying,
“If you are willing, you can heal me” (Mark 1:40).
Maybe you’ve had a similar question. You know that God is all-powerful, full of wisdom, and knows all things. But — is he willing to help me?
Jesus answered that question definitively, “I am willing” (Mark 1:41).
I pray that our confidence is built by knowing this character of God. He is willing AND able.
4) Don’t be double-minded.
James clarifies that once you ask God for wisdom, do not waver in believing he will give you insight. My experience tells me that this will constantly be tested. Sometimes God’s timeline to answer our prayer is different from our timeline.
In the waiting, it’s tempting to waver. Divided loyalty between trusting God and the world makes us restless and unstable in everything we do.
5) Trust God, who rewards those who diligently seek him.
Hebrews 11:6 says,
“It is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who diligently seek him.”
We were on a family vacation in Colorado last year and visited the Royal Gorge suspension bridge. It is one of the longest suspension bridges in the US. As I’m getting older, I’m noticing that my fear of heights has increased, and I was tested by this bridge about a thousand feet above the Arkansas River.
On the outside, I was fine. But on the inside, I was questioning all kinds of things, primarily, “Who built this bridge, and did they really know what they were doing?”
We walked across the bridge safely, but I had to face my doubts. Did I trust the one who built this bridge enough that I would put action into that trust by walking across it?
It is the same way with trusting God. Do we trust that the One full of wisdom will give us insight into what we need when we need it?
Prompt: If you need wisdom, write down the specific crossroad, ask God in your own words for specific wisdom, and thank him for hearing your prayer.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for your blessing of wisdom. I don’t have to fear, and I don’t have to worry or be discouraged, for you are my light and salvation. Amen.