Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.I Kings 3:9-12
I have gone many days in my life in which I woke up and did not think to pray first. There have been many days I did not ask for wisdom from God and went about my day certain I knew what I was doing. It seems we get self-confident in what God calls us to do whether it be a job, ministry, marriage, or parenting. We get comfortable with the situation, and we forget that we need wisdom and that we need God’s help. The nervous feeling we once had in the beginning has long gone, and while we would never say we do not need God’s wisdom, the absence of prayer in our life reveals that to be true. I recently heard a message about asking God for wisdom, and I was convicted about my lack of asking God for His wisdom and guidance in my life every day.
James 1:5 states, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not (without reproach); and it shall be given him.” I have read this verse and sat under the preaching of this passage many times. The truth is, I had not much applied this verse to my life as I should have, and only prayed for wisdom when I thought I needed help for something new or felt myself pushed in a corner. I prayed for wisdom when I felt overwhelmed at work or when I had a big decision to make. I failed to see my need for God’s wisdom every day for all the things I have been entrusted with—family, ministries, friends, job, etc. I thought about all of these things as I sat there in church, and I asked God to forgive me for my arrogance and my ignorance for failing to see my need for His wisdom. How foolish I was to not ask for His wisdom daily, saving it only for what I deemed to be dire situations.
I remember back to the first days of Freedom That Lasts and being so nervous standing in front of people and presenting a lesson. I remember someone telling me how I used to sway back and forth when I would teach a lesson and how hard it was to not be distracted by my swaying. I remember preaching my first message in church and it lasted a lengthy seven minutes as my father-in-law sat in the first few rows doing his best to “amen” me on, but I struggled immensely. I remember leading the singing for the first time and sweating bullets before going in front of the congregation. I remember struggling at work and losing hair and not knowing what to do, and I felt like the walls were closing in on me, and due to the stress I felt like I had no options left and nowhere to turn. In those times I sure prayed for God’s wisdom and guidance as I felt lost and utterly incapable of doing the task at hand.
I have also had “regular” days in my life, days that were beyond successful and days that I once only dreamed for. In those days, I foolishly did not ask for wisdom and guidance as I felt comfortable and confident in my own self. I failed to realize my moment-by-moment need for God in my life. I thought I had the world by the tail, even though I hold only the wind in my hands. I am coming to realize that I need God’s wisdom every moment of my life. I have been entrusted with relationships and possessions, and have been called to lead ministries beyond anything I could have ever imagined or dreamed of. God will require me to give an account for these things, and if I want to give a good account, I must ask for His wisdom and He must be the One guiding me in the decisions I make.
Where are you in this? Have you attempted to do things in your own wisdom? How long has it been since you have asked God for wisdom? Do you wait till you are utterly struggling and a mess before you ask for God’s help? Do you ask for His wisdom on the good days as you ask on the bad days? Solomon saw his own wisdom as lacking and asked the Possessor of all things to give him wisdom to lead the people of Israel. What do you ask God for? Do you ask for possessions or the one thing that He says He will give to you liberally? May we not let a day go by when we do not ask for His wisdom, and may we see God work and do what only He can do.