"Wisdom, Winds and Waves"

Preached by on December 11, 2016
— From the series,

As we consider what it means to seek wisdom, James brings up that which hinders our listening to God by talking about being tossed by "winds and waves."

 

Wisdom, Winds and Waves

(James 1:5-8)

 

Intro:

A.  You can say what you want, but Peter got out of the boat.  And I would guess most of us in this room would have stayed in it like the others.  But not Peter. Do you remember that story?  Jesus had just fed 5000 men, not including the women and child. Jesus sends his disciple away in a boat out on the Sea of Galilee while he went away to pray.

B.  Now listen to what happens (Matt. 14:23-27).  So get the picture.  It is somewhere between 3:00 and 6:00 a.m., the darkest part of the night, their boat is being tossed about by the winds and the waves and in the midst of that storm Jesus comes walking on the water and says, “Don’t be afraid!”

C.  Fear. Trials.  Storms.  I am sure you can understand the emotions of every man in that boat.  But let me finish the story.  (READ Matt. 14:28-33)

D.  Doubt.  It is a word that simply means, “To stand in two ways.”  Implying uncertainty in which way to take; to waver in thought.  Doubts can be debilitating for they keep us from going in the direction that is best.

 

I.  Wisdom from God

A.  Sometimes as we drive down the road of life, we come to dangerous intersections.  They are those moments where a choice we make or don’t make sets us on a course that could influence the rest of our journey. Do we stop or go. Turn right or left. Go ahead or turn back.

B.  The Bible speaks about a divine resource we can utilize when we come to those intersections. It is called wisdom. There are times when we approach one of those intersections and realize we have a shortage of wisdom. This is the very situation James addresses.  We  feel lost and don’t know which way to go. We don’t understand the cause of the trial or its purpose.  So ask!  (read verse 5)

C.  Shouldn’t that be obvious?  You are at a dangerous intersection in life – so ask for wisdom.  You are facing temptations and feel weak – so ask for wisdom.  You simply don’t know what is next for you and you feel helpless – so ask for wisdom.  Why does James have to tell us Christians to ask?  Because too many times we pretend like we are God and can make the right decisions on our own.  But can we?

D.  Ps 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”  You want wisdom?  Ask!  You want to hear God?  Then listen.  Listen through the reading of the Word.  Listen in prayer.  Listen through counsel of the spiritually mature.  Then wait.  You want to know what causes doubt for some of us?  Waiting.

 

II.  Wrong Option

A.  James is a realist.  He hits us between the eyes and challenges our actions.  We say, “Okay, I will ask God for wisdom every day, but I don’t know if God really will do anything for me.”

B.  Read verses 6-8.  The doubt James refers to here is not intellectual doubt. It is not doubting the existence of God or His ability to answer a prayer. It is the doubt of divided loyalties. It is the vacillating Christian who cannot decide from one trial to the next whether he or she will really trust the Lord and follow His wisdom.  The on again-off again Christian should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. This is not the type of person who really wants God’s wisdom.

C.  James calls this person “double-minded.”  Torn between two directions – your direction and God’s direction.  I believe you can know truth and truth can set you free.  I don’t believe living the Christian life is complicated, difficult – yes, complicated to understand – no.

D.  The Bible never once says “figure it out” but it does say over and over, “trust God” He’s already got it all figured out.  James says that doubt causes us to be tossed like the waves of the sea.

E.  Trusting God absolutely only happens when you let go of being in charge of yourself.  As longs as you call your own shots, you don’t need God’s wisdom.

F.  Peter saw Jesus. Peter walked on water.  But Peter also saw the human reality of the water with the waves and the wind and he sank.  He sank because he doubted Jesus could do when he told Peter, “Come to me.”  Do you trust God to give you the wisdom you need to stay strong in the trial?  Do you trust God to open and close doors so that you walk in His pathway and not yours?  You don’t have to be like the wave that is tossed by the wind.  You can stand firm knowing God’s good and perfect will.

Conclusion:

A.  God knows the right path for you.  God’s may lead you through some trials, but you don’t have to be lacking for wisdom.  God is there for you, if you will only ask him without doubting if He will give you that wisdom.  Do you trust Him?

B.  We are about to sing a song that affirms our need and faith in God to direct our life.  The words say this,

“Be with me Lord, I cannot live without thee.  I dare not try to take one step alone.  I cannot bear the loads of life unaided.  I need thy strength, to lean myself upon.”

C.  Let those words that you sing be your prayer.  But of those words touch your heart to where you feel more like you are sinking than walk on water, then come and let us pray with you.  Come now, as we stand and sing.