Read: James 1:2-8
If any of you lack wisdom [finds a lack in your religion], let him ask of God… and it shall be given him (James 1:5),
If Any Of You Lack
Does our scripture reading for today speak only of a shortage of natural patience and a lack of balanced judgment or is God’s Word here giving us a deeper insight into possibilities of the Christian life? Do these verses speak only of growth or do they point us to the possibilities of grace through God’s generous gift of the Holy Spirit? (See Luke 11:13.)
The answer depends in part on the unity of this passage, and in part on the meaning of the words perfect and wisdom. Some translators start a new paragraph with verse 5. But an equal number see continuity of thought and make verses 2 to 8 a single paragraph with a central theme. If this be correct, what is the theme of the passage?
The word perfect in verse 4 is the same word used in Matthew 5:48 and Philippians 3:15, where we understand it to mean Christian perfection. The word wisdom in verse 5 generally signifies understanding; but often in the Bible wisdom is equivalent to true religion. In view of these facts, is not James saying: In the midst of trials, let God make your Christian faith perfect and entire, wanting nothing? Is he not saying, If you discover, under the pressures of life, that your religion is lacking, ask God for more — ask Him for all He can give you?
Is this more religion the baptism with the Holy Spirit? We believe that it is. (1) It is under pressure that the unsanctified Christian often discovers his need. (2) It is the divine plan that every child of God should have “all the fulness of God.” (3) This grace is a free gift to those who ask.
(4) It is given in response to faith. (5) It brings steadiness to the wobbly Christian and (6) singleness of heart to the double-minded.