These are my notes from a sermon series I did through the book of James. It has not been proofed for spelling or grammatical errors. I present it to you as-is.
This series of lessons is called WisDUMB: Why do I keep making dumb decisions? Throughout your life you will have great days and difficult days, you will have valleys and mountain tops, you will experience seasons of peace and seasons of conflict, you will experience being accepted and rejected, feeling loved and feeling unloved and you will have days where you will be full of hope and others days filled with very little hope. This series of lessons from James is designed to help you navigate the decisions you will need to make throughout your life regardless of where you find yourself.
- The first lesson addressed the definition of wisdom. We learned that wisdom is a combination of knowledge, understanding, and application. We discovered that wisdom is knowing what God wants you to do and then doing it. The reason we keep making dumb decisions is because we don’t recognize wisdom when we see it.
- The second lesson addressed the need for wisdom. We learned that wisdom is the vehicle God uses to get you where you need to go, to heal what you need to heal, to stop what you need to stop, to seize what you need to seize, to experience what you need to experience, and to know God at a deeper level. The reason we keep making dumb decisions is because we don’t recognize our need for wisdom.
- Today, we are examining the source of wisdom. One of the reasons we keep making dumb decisions is because we keep going to the wrong source. If you want God’s wisdom on your situation, then you will need to go to God.
There is no doubt we need wisdom to experience God’s victory in our lives, but where do we get wisdom? Where does true knowledge and understanding come from? It comes from our generous God, who wants you to have His wisdom and is ready to give it to you today!
With that said let’s look at James 1:2, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. 5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you” (NLT).
The source of the wisdom you need is found with your “generous God.” You may already know that God is all-powerful (omnipotent), all-knowing (omniscient), all-present (omnipresent), loving, good, holy, merciful, gracious, and full of truth. However, do you know that your God is extremely generous? One of the greatest things you can discover as a believer is that your Heavenly Father is a giving God! James reminds you that when you need wisdom you can go to your “generous God.” Here are four things you need to know about God’s generosity and their relationship with wisdom.
God’s generosity is God’s nature
Number one, God’s generosity is God’s nature. This means you don’t have to twist God’s arm to give. It is His nature and desire to give to His people. Generosity is an attribute of God. Most people understand and accept the attributes that declare God is love, God is patient, God is forgiving, and God is all-powerful. In the same way God is those, He is generous. Just as much as God loves you, He gives to you. Just as much as God is forgiving, He is also giving. It’s His nature to be generous.
One of my favorite fruits is a good orange. If I had an orange tree in my back yard I would expect it to produce oranges because that’s its nature. It’s going to produce oranges because it’s an orange tree. I don’t have to beg an orange tree to produce oranges. I don’t have beg God to be generous. God is going to be generous, because He is a generous God. It’s His nature. Let me give you a taste of God’s generosity throughout the Bible.
- Matthew 7:11, “So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him” (NLT). Our God is a generous God, it’s His nature.
- Psalm 145:7, “They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness” (ESV). Our God is a generous God, it’s who He is.
- Malachi 3:10, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lordof Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!” (NLT). Our God is a giving God, it’s His nature.
- 1 Timothy 6:17, “Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment” (NLT). Our God is a generous God, it’s His nature.
- Ephesians 1:3, “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ” (NLT). Our God is a generous God, it’s who He is.
- John 1:16, “From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another” (NLT). Our God is a generous God, it’s His nature.
- Romans 10:12, “Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him” (NLT). Our God is a generous God, it’s who He is.
- Psalm 130:7, “O Israel, hope in the Lord; for with the Lordthere is unfailing love. His redemption overflows” (NLT). Our God is a generous God, it’s His nature.
- Isaiah 55:7, “Let the wicked change their waysand banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously” (NLT). Our God is a generous God, it’s who He is.
- Ephesians 1:7, “He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins” (NLT). Our God is a generous God, it’s His nature.
- Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (NLT). Our God is a generous God, it’s who He is.
- Psalm 23:5, “You prepare a feast for mein the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings” (NLT). Our God is a generous God, it’s His nature.
- Philippians 4:19, “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus” (NLT). Our God is a generous God, it’s His nature.
- James 1:5, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you” (NLT). Our God is a generous God, it’s who He is. It’s His nature.
When it comes to wisdom, He is willing and ready to give it to you. You don’t need to beg or plead for this, just humbly ask Him. Then look for the wisdom, insight, and understanding to come. It is on its way
God’s generosity is impartial
Number two, God’s generosity is impartial. James 1:5 says, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you” (NLT). Notice that James clearly states that God will give wisdom to “you.” Some translations say “to all.” In the context of believers, God shows no partiality when it comes to handing out His wisdom. You can be a new believer who doesn’t know much, or a seasoned follower of Jesus, and God will give you wisdom. You can be struggling with a sin and wanting deliverance, God will give you wisdom. You can be a faithful and pure saint of God trying to help others and God will give you wisdom. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, whether you are male or female, a leader or follower, mature or immature – God is impartial to giving His wisdom. So ask for it!
Let’s go back to the orange tree. The orange tree doesn’t care who approaches it seeking oranges, whether it’s me, my wife, my children, my grand-daughters. It’s going to produce oranges for whoever seeks the oranges. The orange tree is impartial. It shows no favoritism. The reason why you can expect God to give you wisdom is because it’s His nature and He is impartial regarding His wisdom. So ask for it.
God’s generosity is certain
Number three, God’s generosity is certain. James 1:5 says, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you” (NLT). When talking about wisdom, God’s Word says that God “will give it” to those who ask. There is a certainty behind that statement. When asking God for wisdom you can be confident it will arrive on time. You will get the knowledge, understanding, and insight you need by the time you really need it. There is no need to doubt, because God’s wisdom is en route.
Let’s return again to the orange tree. Healthy orange trees will always produce oranges at the right time. You can count on it. They are reliable, dependable, and certain. God is the same way with His wisdom. He will produce the wisdom when you need it. He is reliable, dependable, and certain when it comes to providing wisdom. You never have to wonder if God is going to give you wisdom when you ask for it, He will.
God’s generosity is for your benefit
Number four, God’s generosity is for your benefit. James 1:5 says, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you” (NLT). The Greek word “generous” (haplous) carries the idea of being single-minded and focused. It refers to having a single motive, which is the welfare of the asker. In other words, God gives without ulterior motives. There are no strings attached. He is not giving you wisdom so that you can give Him something in return. Giving His wisdom to you is strictly for your blessing, profit, and gain.
One more trip to the orange tree. One of the great benefits of oranges is that they are good for you. Among many things, they provide vitamin C. Studies have shown that vitamin C helps prevent the common cold, decreases the risk of developing a urinary tract infection, helps prevent cardiovascular disease, possibly helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease, increases bone density, and improves your mood and blood circulation, to name a few benefits. That’s what vitamin C does. However, let me suggest that you should also take Vitamin W – Wisdom. Vitamin W will give you increased understanding of God’s will, increased understanding of how to relate to your spouse and children, increased insight in how to defuse someone’s anger, and give you knowledge that you need to make the decision that honors God and those involved. No matter who you are, you need Vitamin W – God’s wisdom.
It doesn’t matter who you are, you need wisdom. You need God’s wisdom. You need to apply His truth to your situation, to that relationship, to your finances, to your health, to that problem you are facing. Go to God and say, “God I need your wisdom…..” He will give it. He is a generous God.