The Crossroads

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It goes without saying that we find ourselves coming up to many crossroads along our walk with God. Many of them involve choices that are easy to make, but it’s also certain that when God wants to make a point with us they present us with a challenge. That’s why the Holy Spirit gave James the answer for that dilemma.

God not only sets challenging testing times before us, they are certain to often be perplexing and always beg the question… Why? That’s where Job was in the beginning of his testing, but at the end when he stopped focusing on the challenge he stopped asking why and he began asking who. And that is where we find James addressing our need for wisdom.

James 1:5-6 If any of you lacks wisdom...

The word he uses for wisdom here is sophia, which is far more than knowledge. You can graduate from college with a degree in chemical engineering but it isn’t until you get on the job that you begin to gain the wisdom to successfully apply that knowledge. That’s where James is, applying life’s circumstances (testing) to our Christian walk; our path to spiritual maturity. And he uses a strong word for our lack of wisdom; leipo, which means destitute, wanting or defective. I don’t know about you but I have found myself at that place many many times, feeling totally inadequate and unable to deal with the situation at hand. But James has the solution…

… let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

God promises to give us wisdom if we will ask, and He gives it to us liberally (unconditionally; generously) and he doesn’t upbraid (criticize or reproach) us. Now notice that He gives wisdom to “all men.” If He gives it to all men who appeal to Him, how much more then will He grant His children’s’ request for wisdom?

So, if He gives it to us, how do we get it?

The majority of the wisdom we need and pray for is found in God’s Word. It is already ours. Yes, God has other ways of making us wise, but if we ignore the wisdom in His Word we are quite likely going to be waiting a long time for our answer. The Word is the first place we should look, remembering that He has promised that He will give it to us. That is what the writer of Ps 119 had in mind…

Ps 119:98-99 You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; For they are ever with me. 99 I have more understanding than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation.

But… there is always a “but”…

6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

It all comes back to our faith, and why God is so focused on building it up… Rom 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. In the case of wisdom it comes full circle: ask God, ask in faith (no doubting), and expect the answer. The more we seek His wisdom in His Word the stronger our faith becomes because He has “unconditionally” promised to give it to us. And so He will, just when we need it. God gave Moses wisdom at the Red Sea to know what to do, but He didn’t give him that wisdom until he needed it.

If we want wisdom we must have no doubt whatsoever that, when we ask God to give it to us, He will do precisely that. Otherwise we are like James example…

7-8 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

There is nothing more uncertain, unpredictable and unsteady than a boat being tossed about in a storm. James says that is just like a man who asks God for wisdom and the rushes around seeking counsel wherever he can find it. I can testify to that! You find yourself unable to make up your mind as you stand before that fork in the road. I remember my business partner saying something to me as we faced a very difficult decision (one for which I was not seeking God’s wisdom)… Well, we either make a decision which way to go or one will be made for us. How true, how true… life does not stand still.

There are many crossroads in life but for all of us the most important one comes in choosing life or death. Many will die in their lost condition because they could not choose… the answer will be made for them. But choosing Jesus is just the beginning. Thereafter there is a life to be lived that is full of decisions, for which we have to but “ask” for the wisdom to make the right ones.

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