I want to thank my dear readers for the good discussion yesterday on suffering and heaven’s rewards. My friend brought me a book on the subject so I can’t wait to share more of what I learn. But for now, I thought I would talk about some thoughts that came to me as I was reading Scripture. One of the friends who shared with me mentioned the book of James so I thought that was a good indicator that I needed to read it again. I started reading it for the suffering passage in Chapter 1 but something else in that passage caught my eye:
“Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:4-5).
When we persevere through trials, we eventually won’t lack anything. And right now when we do lack, we should ask God to fill us. I thought if I wanted to understand the answers to my questions, I should ask God for wisdom, so I did. And later in the book, there is a whole passage on wisdom that I hadn’t given much attention to before:
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 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. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness” (James 3:13-18).
What jumped off the page at me first was “the humility that comes from wisdom.” I started to think that maybe wisdom is not necessarily knowledge, but the attitude of not needing to know. In other words, people who are wise don’t necessarily have more knowledge, but they don’t feel the need to have more knowledge. They are submissive, humble in their not-knowing and in their trust. It kind of blew my mind a little bit.
And when I read further, I realized that James is saying people who possess heavenly wisdom live a good life and do good deeds in the humility that comes from wisdom, meaning they do these good things without necessarily needing to know the reason. This is a pure submission to God. James goes on to describe these people as being full of good fruit. When we submit ourselves to God in trust, even without fully understanding it all, He grows His fruit of the Spirit in us.
James also describes a ‘wisdom’ that does not come from God but instead, comes from the devil. He says that this kind of wisdom is obtained out of bitter envy and selfish ambition. I was convicted because I think it’s saying that if I ‘need’ to know for my own sake or because I’m jealous of others or covetous of knowledge, I am letting the devil give me wisdom. *shudder* Once this happens, I open the door to “disorder and every evil practice.” God, forgive me! Help me close the door!
I love the last verse in this passage, “Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” If we submit to God and do things out of the humble kind of wisdom, we are sowing in peace, with the peace of mind that allows God to be God and releases the need to know everything. When we plant our offering to God in the not-knowing, the fruit in us will grow to a bountiful harvest. We will probably even have enough fruit to share with others. How exciting is that?
This is a beautiful passage and I pray I continue to take it to heart as I ask God for the wisdom to lay down my need to know all the answers. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to ask questions. I actually think God welcomes them. But I also believe we should be able to say, “Your will be done”, even if we don’t have all the answers. Faith wouldn’t be faith if we knew everything. Maybe wisdom comes not in the obtaining, but in the letting go.
Thanks again for taking part in the discussion and if you have any more thoughts, I’d love to hear them. I hope we all continue to learn and grow. Today is another rough day but I’m clinging to the beautiful things that have already happened to uplift me. Last night I was able to participate in a brief session of corporate worship. Though it made my head spin, I was glad to be there. And then I was able to spend time sharing with my Celebrate Recovery sisters. This morning, I had some company for the first time in who knows how long. My dear friend came over and brought me her favorite book and took my labs in for me. I got a sweet card from another dear friend. And my physical copy of Fully Alive, by Susie Larson came, but it was destroyed by the post office. So, thankfully, the publisher is going to send me a new one. I wasn’t sure that would happen and I am so grateful! At least the beautiful quote cards were not destroyed. I’m looking forward to hanging them around our house. I’ve slept really well, for me, for the last three nights so I’m not sure why the fatigue is nearly overcoming me today. I felt like I had to concentrate so hard just to converse with my friend. I hope this post even makes sense to those with non-fuzzy brains! Another day, another weird symptom. Trying hard to lay the need to know why at the foot of the cross! Love to all of you!
Song I’m Feeling: It Is Well, by Kristene DiMarco. I’ve told the story before but it’s one of my favorites so I’ll share the shortened version. I discovered this song in the middle of the umpteenth sleepless night during a 15-week bout of pertussis in 2015. God allowed me to worship with this song even though I was beyond exhausted and could barely breathe. It has always been close to my heart and I continue to play it on the piano.
“Let go, my soul and trust in Him. The waves and wind still know His name.”