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Need wisdom?

I forgot to include the last part of the sentence on endurance yesterday. “And let endurance have its perfect effect so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything.

Now this transition makes more sense: “But if anyone is deficient in wisdom, he should ask God who gives to all generously and without reprimand and it will be given to him.”

Wisdom is different from knowledge which is why intelligent and educated people may say send out stupid tweets and lose their career or at least their reputation. Wisdom is having sound judgement, the ability to apply what you know. Jewish culture greatly valued wisdom, hence several books devoted to the topic. (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Songs of Solomon and Job) While you can improve your knowledge and insight through effort and careful study, wisdom appears divinely imparted.

Biblical wisdom is practical and highly relational and James will further define its attributes later in chapter 3. It seems like his introduction (chapter 1) mentions most of his main topics which he will expand on further later in the letter.

So of all the things you could be deficient in life, wisdom makes the top of his list. The cultures I’ve lived in do not have a strong wisdom tradition nor a great desire to seek insight and understanding for their own sake. Or so it seems. We have more knowledge than ever before but I am not sure it’s made us any wiser. Recent studies actually show a decline in emotional/ relational intelligence in millennials who are (like the rest of us) tethered to their devices in favor of real life interaction. Try buying (or selling) something on craigslist and you may notice or encounter a general decline in people’s communication skills or general common sense. (avoid used snowboard purchases 🙂

So likely all of us could use a little more wisdom in our lives but if you’re like me you can function most days without divine help or insight. I rely on my own judgement or experience and will ask for help only when absolutely necessary. We favor self reliance and independence over wisdom and asking for things.

Another cultural observation (which may differ from biblical teaching) is the belief that wisdom lies deep inside you. So when looking for answers, you look within, deeper in your own soul. In James wisdom seems to come from another place- from God or “above” and the reader is encouraged to seek there. I am not sure if location matters as far as God is concerned. For most of my life I’ve thought of God as up and away versus near and within. By looking within for wisdom you may acknowledge the divine in you or being created in God’s image with divine breath giving life. Either way, you look to God (wherever he may be located) for wisdom and find that God is generous with his disposal thereof as well as as completely gracious in light of the need. There is no shame is asking or receiving so you might as well ask.

So do you feel deficient in anything? How do you feel about asking for things you lack?

Do you sense the gracious generosity of the giver who gives without strings attached?

Wisdom is in endless supply, available for everyone and yours for the asking.


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