August 18, 2020
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 18 August 2020
James 1 begins with focus upon calamities and difficulties that can suddenly enter the lives of God’s people. Verses 2-12 of James 1 begin and end with a discussion concerning life challenges. Life is not easy and certainly to live consistently for the Lord Jesus requires divine empowerment. James 1 (vv. 5-8) reveals what resources God has given as we endure life challenges and how to obtain his divine provision. Believers in Jesus Christ need faith and wisdom in this life. God’s Word – the Holy Bible – encourages us to pray for wisdom and to pray with faith.
Jewish Christians (including James) understood wisdom to be something greater than intelligence and knowledge. Judaism emphasized that “the fear of the Lord” is the beginning of wisdom (Prov 1:7). Wisdom is a spiritual dynamic that develops from a wholehearted love for the Lord God, that is, loving Jesus unreservedly with heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Later, in the brief epistle of James, Scripture contrasts divine wisdom with earthly wisdom (3:13-18). Earthly wisdom is “natural” (it arises from the emotional and mental ideas of fallen human beings) and “demonic” (which means Satan uses it to corrupt relationships) (v. 15). Divine wisdom is “pure . . . peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy” (v. 17).
Wisdom allows us to understand how God is using the present to join together with his plans for our life. Seeking and heeding God’s will is necessary so we do not deviate from his purpose for our life. So, how do you obtain this wisdom?
Very simply, you must ask for it. Four truths in James 1 (vv. 5-8) should encourage us to ask for God’s wisdom. First, God gives generously. The God of the Bible is a giving Lord. The nature of God is to give to those who ask from Him. Second, God’s generosity extends to all people. There is no favoritism with God. He gives to all classes, races, and types of people. Third, God gives “without reproach,” meaning He does not reprimand us for seeking his help.
The old cliché that “God helps those who help themselves” is not biblical. Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). “Nothing” means not a thing of eternal, spiritual, ultimate value. God helps those who humble themselves and call upon his name, and when we do so, He does not give in such a manner as to find fault in us for our shortcomings. He is always ready to give new blessings. Those who receive wisdom from God are able to perceive life with his understanding and can, thereby, anticipate his blessings in life.
Finally, God promises to answer those who seek his wisdom. A request in conformity to his will always receives his response (1 John 5:14-15). Wisdom from God allows us to understand how our circumstances join together with his plans for our life. God’s gift of wisdom allows us to understand how He is working in the daily activities of life. Rather than being a hindrance, the challenges you and I may encounter are wonderful opportunities to become wise!
God is ready to help as we recognize our need and rely upon his grace. God’s grace is sufficient for you, for me, and his power is perfected in weakness. I challenge you to abide in Christ Jesus and cling to his grace. Realize your inability, and look to God, all the while letting his grace support you. Therein you will know the sustaining grace and wisdom of God that you need.
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia
Capitol Commission is prepared to encourage and enable local churches to participate in reaching our capitol communities for Christ (1 Tim 2:1-4). We only need to hear from you, if you have not already contacted us. We also seek to enlist individuals, businesses, and churches to become strategic partners with us in this ministry (2 Cor 8:3-6). Our success as a ministry is based upon God blessing all facets of the ministry, which certainly includes partners in this ministry. We earnestly desire to engage those who desire to participate in the ministry by offering their time and talents (Matt 25:20). If you have not already done so, join us and experience the joy of bringing hope, light, transformation, and truth to those who constitute our capitol communities.
* Our ministry funds are being greatly impacted by the COVID-19 virus. If you have the ability and should God lead, please consider a donation to the ministry. You can use standard mail (Capitol Commission, P.O. Box 244, Rincon, GA 31326-0244); or, you can give electronically: under the "Fund," click "Active State Ministry," then under "Sub Fund" click "Georgia – Ron Bigalke" and designate the amount you wish to invest. Your gift is much needed and will be greatly appreciated. Thank you to those who have already helped! We greatly appreciate your investment in this vital ministry!!