Thursday, February 7, 2013

Lessons in James: The Ultimate "Expert" Advice

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you! James 1:5
If we need wisdom?! When don't we? Under normal circumstances, there are any number of situations in our lives that require thoughtful decision-making, some more difficult and long-lasting than others. And in today's world, with an economy that is threatening to fall apart at any moment, a government that seems to have long ago run off the rails, schools and offices that seem to be growing increasingly more dangerous for us and our children and a growing epidemic of apathy in the greater church, we are left with some very grave and weighty decisions to make about how we will live in light of these dangers.

Where will we work? Will we even be able to work? Should we both go to work and put the kids in day care? Can we "afford" for mom to stay home?

What should we do with the money we do have? Do we invest it? Where do we invest it? Do we hide it under a mattress? Should we just spend it?

Where should our kids go to school? Should they go to school, or should we try to homeschool?

The list goes on and on and changes with each and every unique family and individual. The questions are endless. But where do we go for answers?

Can we really go to the Bible? I mean, maybe for very general guidelines on how to behave, how to be a "nice" person, how to "make God happy". . . but certainly not for practical, relevant advice on how to answer these modern questions; the Bible is so archaic! Certainly, God can't expect us to use it today when it comes to making choices about our lives!

And yet, God is eternal! He is the Alpha and the Omega! Before time began, He was! And he has written the future! The Bible, the document itself, may be very "old" as we understand it, but our God is ALIVE, his Word is the LIVING word, and he is very much attuned to our complicated "modern" problems. All we have to do is ASK him!

BUT! And here's the lesson for today: We need to make sure that in our asking, we approach God with the heart and attitude that He requires:
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. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. James 1:6-8 (emphasis added)
What does it look like to be divided between God and the world?

It looks like picking up the phone to call my mom, my best friend, three other friends and the girl I just met to ask their opinions or "vent" before consulting the One who made me on the matter.

It looks like picking up my iPhone to Google "wise investment strategies for 2013" rather than consulting the One who provides every penny I possess.

It looks like perusing the bookstore for "expert" authors, the internet for "expert" speakers and even the church for "successful" Christian models in hopes of gleaning "wisdom" from their experienced minds rather than running to Scripture and to prayer for an answer to my query.

It looks like praying and studying God's word first, only to grow impatient when an answer does not come as quickly as I'd like or one comes that I'm not excited about, and then seeking "counsel" from people who I know will tell me what I want to hear.

We are not guaranteed a lot of things in this life, even by God. As a Christian, we are guaranteed our salvation when we put our trust in him, but beyond that, he does not promise health, wealth, prosperity or even physical safety. But there are some things that he promises to give us, if we obey him and if we ASK for it! Wisdom is one of those things!

Ask Him, beloved, and he WILL answer. It may not be according to your timeline. It may not be the answer you were hoping for. But if you come to him and humble yourself at his feet, he WILL give you the wisdom you desire and need. And this expert advice will never fail you!

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