If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
Have you ever met someone who has book smarts but no street smarts? He is great at retaining knowledge and reciting it. Perhaps exams are no sweat, and it is expected that he will do well academically. But in social situations, all bets are off. He says things that, although factual, are said untactfully or when unnecessary. The issue is that knowledge does not always equate to wisdom. In order for the knowledgeable to be wise, they must be able to apply knowledge effectively. This is the ability to exercise good judgment in behavior, thought, and speech. One can apply knowledge foolishly and to his or her own detriment if wisdom is not exercised. Without wisdom, knowledge loses value.
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. [Jam. 3:7] While knowledge tells us what the character of God is, wisdom guides us in how to exhibit that character in ourselves. It is like the man who sees that his brother is doing wrong. This man can approach his brother in a variety of ways to attempt to correct him. Knowledge tells him that something is wrong and must be addressed. However, the man without wisdom cannot know how, when, where, or whether he is even the one to address the problem. It is wisdom that provides the tact necessary to act and speak in the manner that is in line with God’s will in that situation. Without wisdom, we know the things that are of God but do not have the discernment to know the manner in which we are to apply them.
God wants us to be wise. His word tells us that we only need search ourselves and, if we find that we are lacking in this area, we can ask him for increase. There is no scripture that tells us of a limit to that increase; God’s wisdom is provided liberally. It is sufficient for all circumstances. The verse that follows today’s scripture gives us one requirement when asking God for an increase in wisdom. It is the same requirement when asking God for anything. We must believe that He can and will provide. If we have faith that God can give us wisdom in a measure necessary to carry out his work effectively, we will receive it. Father, give us the desire to carry your wisdom, and give us the faith to know that You will provide the measure we need as we seek it.