Posted on June 3, 2015
James—The New Testament’s Proverbs
This has been a trying week for our family—our own chance to “consider it all joy” (James 1:2)! We’ve admitted my mom, who suffers from dementia, to a nursing facility. It’s been a six-year journey—one some of you have probably traveled with parents or grandparents. Because of the time, energy, and emotion involved, I’m postponing the study of James 4:1-7 until next Wednesday, choosing instead to give us all a mission from James. You’ll be in my prayers this week, as you pursue God’s wisdom for the challenges in your life!
At one time or another, we all face trouble that makes us feel clueless, helpless, lost. In those moments, we acutely feel our own smallness—and our need for God’s greatness. When we don’t have answers but we believe He does, we’re motivated to search for His wisdom with an urgency we may never have felt before.
The Old Testament book of Proverbs begins with a warning about the struggles life can bring—along with persuasion to make a quest for wisdom our top priority. So does the New Testament book of James. This is just one of several similarities these books share.
Listen to these words from Proverbs 2:1-10 (NIV).
“My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding,
and if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom,
and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He holds victory in store for the upright,
He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
for He guards the course of the just
and protects the way of His faithful ones.
Then you will understand what is right and just
and fair—every good path.
For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.”
This is an intense call to go after wisdom—to
• turn your ear to it
• apply your heart to it
• call out for it
• cry aloud for it
• look for it
• search for it.
When you do, “then you will understand.”
James echoes that call, urging us to ask God for the wisdom we lack. What if we pursued wisdom with the heat and passion of Proverbs 2, through the “vehicle” of prayer? Very few of us have ever prayed that intensely for anything! God longs to pour His wisdom into any of us willing to really seek it. James says God will not only grant wisdom—He will grant it generously, without finding fault.
What challenge are you facing right this moment? Do you need a large dose of wisdom? understanding? insight?
On a sheet of paper, name your challenge in writing. Then write three aspects of that challenge for which you need wisdom. This week spend time each day in prayer, pleading for God to give you wisdom in those three specific aspects. Give it your whole heart, as Proverbs 2 says. Call out to Him. Cry aloud. Look, search for His wisdom. And listen (turn your ear) to His answer. Watch as the promises of Proverbs and James begin to unfold in your life!
© Diane McLoud 2015