Most of us are happy to talk about our strengths, but are hesitant to discuss our weaknesses. We like to show off what we have, but are afraid to admit what we lack. Instead, we try to overcompensate for our weaknesses or things we lack. We try to substitute something other than what’s needed with what we have hoping it will be enough. Instead of seeking out help or someone with strengths in the areas of our weaknesses, we try to make due what what we have and try to do it on our own.We forget that it’s in our weakness that He is made strong and in our lack that He becomes our Jehovah Jireh.
I love the story of when Solomon became king. In 1 Kings 3, God told Solomon to ask for whatever he wanted. He immediately thanked God for His kindness to his father David. When he thought of his father, he didn’t think of the ways he was better than him. Instead, he saw where he wasn’t up to the task and was inexperienced. He admitted as much to the Lord and asked for wisdom to govern better than he ever could on his own. Because he didn’t ask for things that accentuated his strengths or would feed his ego, God was pleased. It took humility to admit his weakness and even courage to ask for help in those areas. God gave him wisdom, but He also gave him things he didn’t even ask for in order to bless him.
Have you thought much about your weaknesses or the things you lack? What have you been doing to overcompensate? James 1:5 says, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking” (NLT). I love the last part in the Passion Translation. It says, “He won’t see your lack of wisdom as an opportunity to scold you over your failures.” We’ve become so afraid to admit our weaknesses or the things we lack because we’re afraid of being scolded or made fun of. However it’s only when we admit it that we can ask Him for help, and God doesn’t withhold good things from those who have integrity (Psalm 84:11). James 4:2 reminds us that we have not because we ask not. Take time today to think about what you need in order to do what He’s called you to do, and ask God for it. I know that He will give it to you.
One of the Bible verses my wife and I pray often is James 1:5. We are constantly asking God to give us wisdom liberally. When someone needs counseling, we pray that prayer before, and during, the meeting. When we’re trying to make ends meet, we ask for wisdom. When have decisions to make, you guessed it, we pray for wisdom. We often gain knowledge about things, but we understand we don’t know all the facts and that wisdom is knowing what to do with information. We never want to do things out of our own wisdom or knowledge, so we seek God to give us His knowing that He will supply it.
Proverbs 2:6 says, “Wisdom is a gift from a generous God, and every word he speaks is full of revelation and becomes a fountain of understanding within you” (TPT). God wants to give us wisdom, but we must seek it, then listen to what He says. There’s a period a quiet after asking so that the Holy Spirit can call to remembrance verses in the Bible that may apply (John 14:26). How can we hear the Holy Spirit if we’re still talking or praying? He gives the right words at the right time. People need a word from God more than they need words from us. Listening for scriptures or Bible verses is a way to do that.
Also Proverbs 20:45 says, “A man of deep understanding will give good advice, drawing it out from the well within.” We have to dig deep for wisdom. God has put His kingdom within each of us, but it is up to us to seek it and draw it out. When we read the Bible, meditate on it and put it in our heart, we are feeding that well deep with us. The story’s and words we read become a fountain of understanding that God will use in our own lives and in the lives of others. I pray each day for God to give me a deep understanding of His Word and for Him to help me read it with fresh eyes so I can see things I’ve never seen and make connections within it that I’ve missed. I know that when God reveals His Word to me, it isn’t just for me. It’s for anyone I come across who needs a word from Him. By putting it inside of me, I can draw on it through the Holy Spirit when needed.
Several years ago I decided I was ready for the next step in my career. I wanted to be the General Manager of a retail store. I put on my suit, rehearsed answers of my achievements, thought of people I had helped get promoted and confidently walked into the interview. The District Manager followed the script for a little while then said, “I hate these questions. They don’t really tell me anything. Tell me about a time when you failed.” I sat there with a blank face. My heart was pounding. I thought, “A failure? Why does he want to know about my failures? Is he trying to keep me from the job?” As I searched for a good failure, I asked him to repeat the question. I gave him a failure when everything turned out good, but he wasn’t satisfied. He wanted one where I crashed and burned because he wanted to see how I responded to it.
Our past failures are something that so many of us try to hide. In fact, we are so afraid of failure that we typically won’t ever put ourselves in a position to fail at doing something. We try to stick with what we know so we’re always succeeding. What I’ve learned, and the point my District Manager was trying to find out if I knew is that failure is the greatest teacher. It is also the path to grace. If we never fail, we have no need for grace. If we never try to do something beyond our abilities, we also keep our faith small by never trusting God to do something through us. God rarely calls us to do things that we can do in our own strength and abilities because He knows pride is always knocking on our door waiting to take credit for our successes. But, when we do things beyond our abilities, it forces us to seek and rely on Him.
James 1:5 says, “And if anyone longs to be wise, ask God for wisdom and he will give it! He won’t see your lack of wisdom as an opportunity to scold you over your failures but he will overwhelm your failures with his generous grace” (TPT). God doesn’t ridicule our failures. He’s not waiting to strike us down when we fail either. He sees them as opportunities to grow us and to lavish His grace on us. When we’re called to something greater than our abilities, seek His wisdom first, then step out in faith and do it. If you fail, it doesn’t mean you didn’t hear God or that He didn’t come through for you. It quite often means you and God have two different definitions of failure and success. Don’t let what you think is a failure keep you down. Get back up, trust His grace and keep walking in faith because to keep playing things safe is truly a failure.
Decisions. Decisions. Decisions. If life is full of anything, it’s full of decisions we all have to make. Every decision we make has ma consequence for good or for bad. If you’ve made some bad decisions in your life and have suffered the consequences, it can make it hard to make future decisions. There are tough questions we have to answer in life. Which college to attend, what to become in life, who to marry, whether or not to apply for a promotion, which church to attend, should we move, and so many more. Each has its own consequence and we want to make the right decision, but how can we know?
There are two things I do each time. The first is to pray for wisdom to know what to do. James 1:5 says, “But if any of you lack wisdom, you should pray to God, who will give it to you; because God gives generously and graciously to all” (GNT). Often, wisdom comes at the expense of failure and suffering consequences, but God can give it out when we ask for it. It may take some time in prayer, but in the right moment, God often speaks heavenly wisdom through someone or makes the best choice clear in our minds.
Another thing you can do is ask God to give you peace in helping to guide you into making the decision. Colossians 3:15 says, “The peace that Christ gives is to guide you in the decisions you make.” I often pray, “God, if this is what I’m to do, then give me peace. If not, bring unrest to my heart and mind.” God gives a peace that is beyond understanding especially when there are life altering decisions to be made. Praying for this and experiencing it will guide you through some of life’s toughest decisions. God has a plan and a purpose for each of us, and He’s given us tools to guide in our decisions us as we go. We just need to use them.