I really don’t mind shopping. It’s not a hobby or favorite past time, but I tolerate it — as long as I have a list. If I don’t have a focused set of objectives when I hit the mall, I can quickly become frustrated. And if I have not, prior to commencing the endeavor, inscribed my list on paper or some digital device, they will quickly be forgotten. When I shop, likely the item needed most, something that I simply had to purchase in order to ensure my family’s survival, will slip my mind. That’s usually just the way it is.
Shopping endeavors aren’t the only occasions for forgetfulness. Today God reminded me through the book of James to ask for wisdom.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. (James 1:5–6, ESV)
I think that’s a prayer that we can easily forget to pray. We set our lives on cruise control, managing one decision to the next, fretting the difficult ones and flippantly rolling through the “easy” ones. But God whispers to us, “There’s wisdom for that.” He wants us to ask him, but only when we do it in faith, truly believing that he will deliver as promised.
But what exactly is wisdom and how do you know if you have it? It’s a bit of a slippery word so we might need a little help. In his classic work, Knowing God, J.I. Packer defines wisdom in this way:
“Wisdom is the power to see, and the inclination to choose, the best and highest goal, together with the surest means of attaining it. Wisdom is, in fact, the practical side of moral goodness. As such, it is found in its fullness only in God. He alone is naturally and entirely and invariable wise.”
When we ask in faith, God the all-wise gives us the ability to see and choose that which corresponds with his highest goals for us as his children. I don’t know about you, but that’s something I really want!
I need booster shots of God’s wisdom all throughout my day — child-rearing issues, resolving conflict, impossible financial decisions, understanding what to say when someone’s hurting — the need is almost bottomless. I imagine you could use a little (or tons) as well. Don’t forget to ask him!