[Jas 1:5-11 NKJV] 5 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. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 [he is] a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. 9 Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, 10 but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. 11 For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.
2. Read James 1:2-4 According to the context of this chapter, what is the reason we must ask God for wisdom?
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have [its] perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
3. Why should the believer of "low degree" rejoice and the brother who is "rich in this world" walk in humility? How should this truth affect our view of the body of believers?
4. Choose a verse to memorize this week.
2. Read James 1:5,6
3. The most important thing we can realize when facing the testing of our faith is that we cannot make it on our own. Not in our own power, our own strength, or our own wisdom. We need to first recognize our inability and ask! What warning is recorded to those who think themselves wise? What reminder is there to ask, in humility, for God to give us His wisdom?
a. [Pro 3:5-7 NKJV] 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil.
b. [Pro 26:12 NKJV] 12 Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? [There is] more hope for a fool than for him.
c. [Luk 18:9-14 NKJV] 9 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank You that I am not like other men--extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 'I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.' 13 "And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise [his] eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!' 14 "I tell you, this man went down to his house justified [rather] than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
d. [Rev 3:15-19 NKJV] 15 "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 "So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 "Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'--and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked-- 18 "I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, [that] the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.
4. James speaks of the manner in which God gives His wisdom which is so necessary in our lives. The adverb used here is haploos in Greek. It is translated in KJV liberally but also means 'to spread out', stretch forth. James wants to teach us that we have a God whose hand is stretched forth, whose bounties are spread out before us, and who has an abundant provision of wisdom waiting for those who will ask. There is no shame in the fact that we lack. What more can we learn about our Father who is waiting for us to call upon His Name?
a. [Psa 34:8-10 NKJV] 8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD [is] good; Blessed [is] the man [who] trusts in Him! 9 Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints! [There is] no want to those who fear Him. 10 The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good [thing].
b. [Luk 11:9-13 NKJV] 9 "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 "If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if [he asks] for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 "Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will [your] heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"
c. [Jhn 15:7 NKJV] 7 "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
d. [Heb 4:16 NKJV] 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
5. Now we know that we need wisdom and we know that we need to ask God for it; but there is a condition we need to meet in order to receive wisdom in our trials. What is it?
When we ask for wisdom and do not receive, we should not come to the conclusion that God is slack in His promises. The fault lies in our asking. When we believe God, we must believe that He is absolute and is able to do that which may not be within the range of experience or reasoning. What does God's Word teach us about faith and our relationship to the Father?
a. [Mar 11:22-24 NKJV] 22 So Jesus answered and said to them, "Have faith in God. 23 "For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. 24 "Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive [them], and you will have [them].
b. [Heb 10:23 NKJV] 23 Let us hold fast the confession of [our] hope without wavering, for He who promised [is] faithful.
c. [Heb 11:1-3 NKJV] 1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a [good] testimony. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
d. [Heb 11:6 NKJV] 6 But without faith [it is] impossible to please [Him], for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and [that] He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
6. Is there an area of your life that the Lord is specifically speaking to you about today?
2. James 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 [he is] a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
3. Since we are to "ask in faith", who or what are we to base our faith on? When we doubt, whose ability are we doubting? What do we learn about our heavenly Father that will encourage and strengthen our faithful petition for wisdom?
a. [Jer 10:10-13 NKJV] 10 But the LORD [is] the true God; He [is] the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth will tremble, And the nations will not be able to endure His indignation. 11 Thus you shall say to them: "The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under these heavens." 12 He has made the earth by His power, He has established the world by His wisdom, And has stretched out the heavens at His discretion. 13 When He utters His voice, [There is] a multitude of waters in the heavens: "And He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain, He brings the wind out of His treasuries."
b. [Jer 32:17-19 NKJV] 17 'Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You. 18 '[You] show lovingkindness to thousands, and repay the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them--the Great, the Mighty God, whose name [is] the LORD of hosts. 19 '[You are] great in counsel and mighty in work, for Your eyes [are] open to all the ways of the sons of men, to give everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings.
c. [Mat 19:26 NKJV] 26 But Jesus looked at [them] and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
d. [Luk 1:37 NKJV] 37 "For with God nothing will be impossible."
4. If we ask God for wisdom in the midst of a trial but doubt that He will supply it, or doubt that we need His help, what will we get from the Lord?
From the following examples, what can we determine must be our heart's cry when we come to our Lord in prayer?
a. [Psa 40:8 NKJV] 8 I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law [is] within my heart."
b. [Mat 6:9-10 NKJV] 9 "In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as [it is] in heaven.
c. [Luk 22:41-42 NKJV] 41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done."
d. [Jhn 4:34 NKJV] 34 Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.
5. In verse 8, James gives us a vivid picture of the one who does not ask in faith: "He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways". He is literally a "two-souled" main. He has one soul that believes and one that does not. John Bunyan called him, "Mr facing-both-ways". Contrast this double-minded man with the trusting one of Proverbs 3:5-8.
[Pro 3:5-8 NKJV] 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil. 8 It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.
What phrase is repeated in both Scriptures?
What is the obvious opposite result of wholeheartedly trusting God?
Personal: How are you doing? Are you stable or unstable?
6. Is there an area of your life that the Lord is specifically speaking to you about today?
2. James 1:9 Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation,
3. Why does the believer who is of low degree (of humble circumstances: low in rank; poor; powerless) have a reason to rejoice?
Record the abundant true wealth of the believer.
a. [2 Cor 4:6-7 NKJV] 6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.
b. [Eph 2:11-13 NKJV] 11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh--who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands-- 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
c. [1Pe 1:3-5 NKJV] 3 Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
d. [1Jo 3:2-3 NKJV] 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
4. Who is it that has exalted us? What do we learn from the following references about the character of the person whom the Lord lifts up?
The Lord. Be humble.
a. [Isa 66:2 NKJV] 2 For all those [things] My hand has made, And all those [things] exist," Says the LORD. "But on this [one] will I look: On [him who is] poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word.
b. [Mat 18:3-5 NKJV] 3 and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 "Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 "Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
c. [Mat 23:12 NKJV] 12 "And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
d. [1Pe 5:5-6 NKJV] 5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to [your] elders. Yes, all of [you] be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." 6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,
5. What directions and warnings do we find in these Scriptures regarding the temptation to envy and covet and the need to be content?
a. [Mat 6:19-21 NKJV] 19 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 "but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
b. [Col 3:1-2 NKJV] 1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
c. [1Ti 6:6-10 NKJV] 6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into [this] world, [and it is] certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and [into] many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all [kinds of] evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
[Heb 13:5 NKJV] 5 [Let your] conduct [be] without covetousness; [be] content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
6. Is there an area of your life that the Lord is specifically speaking to you about today?
2. [Jas 1:10-11 NKJV] 10 but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. 11 For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.
3. In contrast to verse 9, how is the believer who is rich in this world's goods made humble?
The contrast of poverty and wealth draws our attention to the diverse temptations or various trials we could fall into in either circumstances. Often the poor man thinks his problems are far worse than the rich man's, but the perils of prosperity can be just as dangerous. What instruction do we find in God's Word regarding the riches of this world?
a. [Deu 8:11-17 NKJV] 11 "Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, 12 "lest--[when] you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell [in them]; 13 "and [when] your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; 14 "when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; 15 "who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, [in which were] fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the flinty rock; 16 "who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end-- 17 "then you say in your heart, 'My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.'
b. [Jer 9:23-24 NKJV] 23 Thus says the LORD: "Let not the wise [man] glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty [man] glory in his might, Nor let the rich [man] glory in his riches; 24 But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I [am] the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight," says the LORD.
c. [Psa 62:10 NKJV] 10 Do not trust in oppression, Nor vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, Do not set [your] heart [on them].
d. [1Ti 6:17-19 NKJV] 17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 [Let them] do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
4. Record Proverbs 23:4-5 below and ask the Lord to protect your heart against setting your affection on those things that do not last!
[Pro 23:4-5 NKJV] 4 Do not overwork to be rich; Because of your own understanding, cease! 5 Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For [riches] certainly make themselves wings; They fly away like an eagle [toward] heaven.
5. James closes this paradox with an illustration that drives home the truth by giving us a picture of the hot desert sun. No sooner does it rise above the horizon then the plants begin to wither and die, the blossoms fall and its beauty fades. In the same way, the rich man's wealth is fading away even as he goes about his business. In Philippians 4:11-12, what does Paul teach us to do so we are not stumbled by the lack of, or the abundance of, material wealth?
Be content with what you have.
[Phl 4:11-12 NKJV] 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
Ask the Lord to help you learn to be content by listing all the blessings you have been given.
2. Practice making it a habit in your prayer life to ask God for wisdom daily to face the diverse temptations that will come your way. What do you need wisdom for today?
3. When you ask will God give wisdom? How?
4. What is the result of this prayer if you doubt that He will answer or you doubt that you need His wisdom?
5. What is the lifestyle description of this doubting one?
6. Ask the Lord to give you a clear view of His ability to keep you in the midst of, and lead you through, the temptations you face.
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. James 1:5