Cornerstone EPC Sunday morning
Franklin, NC 28734 May 5, 2019
“Wisdom amid Trial”
We continue in our sermon series through James, and we continue this week on theme of trial in the Christian’s life. In last week sermon (from James 1:1-4) we saw the good things that result from trial—and those good things, taken together, form a robust list of God’s blessing poured through trial. Therefore, we count it all joy when experiencing them. We neither rail at the trial, nor at God Who ordains it. We also do not accept the trial with mere impassive, Stoic-like calm. This week we see what to do if, when tried, we perceive that we lack wisdom. Let us once again hear God’s inspired, inscripturated, infallible, and inerrant Word read in this place.
(HERE READ THE TEXT)
There are times when we need wisdom amid our trials. We need wisdom, while undergoing trial, to understand God’s heart and His ways better. We certainly need His wisdom, availed to us in Christ via the Holy Spirit, to make best use of the trials that come to us. Indeed, we do not want to waste our trials. If we must undergo and endure them, then let us obtain all the benefits that God would give us as a result of enduring. We need wisdom from on high for this to occur.
Therefore, let the one lacking wisdom amid trial ask of God. The Greek word here rendered ask (aiteo [aitew]) is the same one used in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount where He teaches us, “Ask, and ye shall receive…” (Matthew 7:7). The sense of this verb is intensive. We are to ask of God—and, if He tarry for a season, we are to continue asking of Him. Asking of God, in this sense, implies urgency approaching the point of demand. We are to ask God in this manner for His good things, especially the Holy Spirit—and wisdom certainly is included on the roster of God’s good things.
Note what God says, in His Word via James, His inspired penman, concerning Himself. He gives His wisdom liberally upon request. He gives willingly and generously. He is no miser, but He is lavish with His gifts. We do not have to cajole Him or employ other means of currying His favor—His favor toward us is assured and unshakable in Christ Jesus. Moreover, God gives this wisdom without reproach toward us. He does not disparage us, nor does He assign blame unto us. He neither entertains nor expresses ill sentiment toward us who are Christ when we ask Him for wisdom amid trial. In fact, He assures us that He will perform His precious promise. He will grant this wisdom amid trial—conditioned only by one thing, which we now examine.
Let the one asking God for wisdom not doubt. James, led by the Spirit, tells us much about he who doubts. He is like a wave of the sea—and that driven and tossed by the wind. The Lord says, through Paul, that immature ones in the faith are like this (Ephesians 4:14), and none of us wants to be like this—without root (or anchor), without direction, and without purpose. The Lord concludes our text today with a warning: the doubter shall not receive anything from Him. The doubted is a double-minded (literally two-souled) man, unstable in all his ways. How could it be otherwise, if we be without root or anchor in Jesus? May the Lord indeed help our points of unbelief (cf. Mark 9:24), and may He give us the grace to trust Him fully when we ask Him for His wisdom amid trial.
In fact, we have another benefit from trial that we did not mention last week—namely, wisdom. Remember what the Lord led Solomon to write almost three thousand years ago, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy (One) is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10). The fear of the Lord, in view of its fourteen occurrences in Proverbs, may be described as worshipping Him and walking in His ways. This is the beginning of wisdom, but we grow wiser as we walk with Christ over time—and we grow wiser in Him due to Him granting us His wisdom amid trial as we ask it of Him.
Certainly He can grant us wisdom without us asking for it, but this is not the usual protocol. He calls us to ask Him for it, and He delights to grant this good thing unto His children. Recall the facts associated with asking God for wisdom amid trial. He gives generously, without finding fault, and He chastises us not when we ask Him for this wisdom. Moreover, you may be assured of this, for the Lord says through James concerning our believing request for wisdom, “…and it will be given him.” Therefore, by God’s grace, doubt Him not. Doubt neither His power nor His will to deliver what He has promised. On the contrary, ask Him, when tried, for wisdom amid trial—and be thrilled with the wise insight He gives you. May God, in Christ, by the Holy Spirit, bless you one and all with this wisdom when met by trials of various kinds.