James 1:5-8

God’s Generous Gift

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5

“I feel so stupid. I should know what to do, but I don’t.” Ever said these words or something like them? The older I get, the more I say them.

James’s words are so reassuring. Besides telling us that God promises to give us wisdom if we ask for it, James says God won’t find fault with our asking. He won’t tell us we’re stupid and should know what to do.

It’s humbling to ask for directions or for help in facing trials, but the first step in receiving wisdom is to admit your need.

The second step is to recognize two sources from which to get it: earthly and heavenly. When Eve chose to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, she thought she was choosing the right to make her own choice. She was deceived—she had chosen the earthly, devil-inspired source over God as her source (Genesis 3:1-6).

Wherever you have envy, selfish ambition, disorder, and evil practices, the source is earthly. “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (James 3:14-17).

Third step: avoid the obstacle of doubt. Do you trust God’s faithfulness to his promise to not only hear your prayer but also give you what you need?

James described the doubter as “a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind” (1:6). The doubter rises to receive, then descends to the depths, sure God will never give what he needs. He goes first one way and then another, “double-minded and unstable in all he does” (James 1:8).

Godly wisdom bears good fruit. Wisdom is more than knowledge, it’s insight into the best way to apply knowledge, make right decisions, and act upon them.

Why do we hesitate to ask God to give us wisdom or to believe he’ll answer us? When we ask, we must believe and not doubt, “because the one who doubts should not expect to receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:7).

Ask God, and you’ll receive a generous portion of heavenly wisdom.


What is Jesus’s extraordinary promise in Matthew 21:18-22?

Read Mark 12:28-30, which quotes Deuteronomy 6:4-5. How can obeying this commandment help us avoid being double-minded?

How does Paul describe God’s generosity in giving to us in Ephesians 3:20? What wisdom do you need right now? Ask, receive, and act on it.

Nancy J. Baker

This devotion is part of a series on The Book of James.

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