The Apostle James encourages us to turn every trial into an opportunity to grow in Christ-likeness (James 1:1-4). Endurance is a spiritual quality of high value. It is a faith response. We learn to trust the Lord to resolve our troubling issue in His time, in His way, and for His glory. And these difficult situations may take time to resolve and can motivate us to ask God for wisdom through Listening Prayer.
Now, try this on for size: The definition of divinely imparted wisdom comes in the form ofprinciples – timeless truths that apply in a timely way to a whole range of trials, temptations, problems and challenges thrown at us in this fallen world.
So, God’s wisdom is imparted as stand-alone principles of truth gathered over time as we discover and apply the Word of God to such challenges as may arise. These distillations of God’s answers are readily available for the next trial we face and are teachable to the next generation of growing Christians.
One of my mentors from Talbot Seminary, Dr. Bob Hill, came to my office at Valley Bible Church in Northridge, California at my request to consult on a whole range of issues I was facing in my first pastorate. He listened patiently as I ranted on about the particulars of each problem that divided the body of Christ there. Before he weighed in with council, he leaned forward, locked eyes with mine with a dramatic pause: “David, be a man of principle!”
I never forgot that. And Dr. Hill was right. The problems were eventually solved by standing firm on the Word of God without compromise. That experience has shaped my ministry ever since.
For example, we at Clearwater Church live by principles of divine wisdom gathered over the years like these: “For Jesus to be the Head of our church, we must listen!” “Lord, if You speak clearly, we will obey courageously.” “Loving God overflows into loving people.” “We do things with Jesus, not just for Jesus.” “Presence-based worship, ministry, and living requires acknowledging God right here, right now.” Etc.
Now, James has more to say about the divine wisdom we asked for and received. Divinely revealed wisdom can be mishandled in a number of ways. We have already seen (James 1:4-8) that asking with doubts rather than with faith negates the promise. A double-minded person is unstable.
Let’s let James challenge us deeper about operating in the flesh. There is a counterfeit wisdom. And there is a test for true, heaven-sent wisdom. Consider James 3:13-18.
God’s wisdom bears godly fruit. The same Spirit that guides us into godly principles of truth is in you to help you apply these principles with grace and effectiveness. Righteousness and peace are the result.