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Monday, May 7, 2018

Two Steps to Knowing God’s Will

In review of James 1:5 it says, “If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you, for he is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask him” (TLB).

Today’s passage is from James 1:2-8. James tells me that when troubles of any kind come my way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For I can know that when my faith is tested, my endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when my endurance is fully developed, I will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. If I need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to me. He will not rebuke me for asking. But when I do ask him, be sure that my faith is in him alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such a person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

James doesn't say if trouble comes my way but when it does. He assumes that we will have troubles and that it is possible to profit from them. The point is not to pretend to be happy when I face pain but to have a positive outlook because of what troubles can produce in my life. James tells me to turn my hardship into times of learning. Tough times can teach me endurance.

I can't really know the depth of my character until I see how I react under pressure. It is easy to be kind to others when everything is going well, but can I still be kind when others are treating me unfairly. God wants to make me mature and complete, not keep me from all pain. Instead of complaining about my struggles, I should see them as opportunities for growth. Thank God for promising to be with me in rough times. Ask him to help me solve my problems or to give me the strength to endure them. Then be patient. God will not leave me alone with my problems; he will stay close and help me grow.

By "wisdom," James is talking not only about knowledge but about the ability to make wise decisions in difficult circumstances. Whenever I need wisdom, I can pray to God, and he will generously supply what I need. I don't have to grope around in the dark, hoping to stumbleupon answers. I can ask for God's wisdom to guide my choices.

The wisdom I need has three distinct characteristics: (1) It is practical, (2) it is divine and (3) is it Christlike.

I must believe not only in the existence of God but also in his loving care. This includes relying on God and expecting that he will hear and answer when I pay. I must put away my critical attitude when I come to him. God does not grant every thoughtless or selfish request. I must have confidence that God will align my desires with his purposes.

A person with divided loyalty is not completely convinced that God's way is best. That person treats God's Word like any human advice and retains the option to disobey. They vacillate between allegiance to subjective feelings, the world's ideas, and God's commands. To stabilize any wavering or doubtfulness, commit yourself wholeheartedly to God.

To stop being tossed about, rely on God to show me what is best for me. Ask him for wisdom, and trust that he will give to me. Then my decisions will be sure and solid.

To delve into this deeper, If I want to know God’s will, I need to do a couple of things

1. Admit that I need guidance. It's tough to admit when we’re confused. Men especially don’t like to do this! It’s not in my nature to say, “Hey! I’m lost!” and stop and ask for directions. That’s why, when it comes to knowing God’s will, it takes some real courage to admit that I’m confused and need direction. Psalm 25:9 reminds me, “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way” (NIV). If I’m arrogant and think I’v got it all figured out, God’s going to say, “Be my guest. Go for it!” I think I know, but I might want to stop and admit that I need guidance, because it’s the first step in getting God’s will for my life.

2. Ask God in faith for directions. The Bible says in James 1:5-6, “If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you, for he is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask him; he will not resent it. But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to tell you, for a doubtful mind will be as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind” (TLB). There are two keys to knowing God’s wisdom. First, I’ve got to ask the right person: God. Then I ask with the right attitude: expecting God to answer. I must ask with the expectation of an answer. God honors faith, and he promises wisdom for the next step of your life.

Bottom Line:
If you want to know what to do, ask God and he will gladly tell you.

What this means to me:
If I want to know what God wants me to do, all I need to do is ask him. He is glad and ready to give me his bountiful supply of wisdom.

In summary, when troubles come I can consider it an opportunity for great joy. I can have a positive outlook for what the troubles can produce. For when my faith is tested, it has a chance to grow and tough times can teach me endurance. However, can I still be kind when others are treating me unfairly? If I need wisdom I can ask God for the ability to make wise decisions at any time and especially in these difficult circumstances. I can ask for God's wisdom to guide my choices. But when I ask, be sure I will trust to do what he says, don't waver, but commit myself wholeheartedly to God. I need to get over any selfish pride and admit that I need guidance and then ask God in faith for directions.

This is a very timely passage for my study. I’m currently undergoing a troublesome time in my work. As first I felt attacked and wanted to be defensive. But If I step back I can see where some of the things myself and my team are doing may be questioned. I just need ask God to help me guide my response. I also need to be kind to those who I think are treating me unfairly. While the things I know that we should be doing haven’t been done yet, due to me prioritizing work to complete tasks that I think will best benefit to overall organization (due to the demands and timing that everything needs to be done in), this could be the opportunity to get some relief so that I can get the assistance to do the right things.

This morning Father, “I ask for your wisdom in how to handle what I’m up against and to do it in a way that will help teach me patience and endurance as I put my faith in you. Help to guide me in my communications with others. Permit me some grace and time availability to correctly respond to what’s in front of me. In Jesus name I pray!”

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