Rooted in Christ

A Word to the Unwise

Wisdom is necessary to handle trials.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God” (James 1:5) 

A family had an emergency at their home. Their furnace had quit on them. Outside temps were in the teens. Inside their thermostat read 41 degrees. They called for repair. A service tech showed up. He took a look at the furnace, pulled off a face plate, and pushed a button. The furnace roared to life. The service tech then presented the bill – $245. The homeowner went ballistic. He said, “You’ve got to be kidding. You weren’t even here 5 minutes. All you did was push a button. I could have done that.” The tech said, “True, but you needed to know what button to push and when to push it.” 

The service tech displayed not only knowledge, he displayed know-how. James calls that wisdom. Wisdom is necessary to handle trials so that we benefit from them for our spiritual growth. 

James already told us that when facing trials we need to bring to bear the perspective God gives us. He expresses it as “for you know” (1:3). James goes on to address how we put that knowledge to use. That’s where wisdom comes in. Wisdom looks to God, learns from God, and leans upon God. 

James instructs us early on in the acquisition of wisdom. He will also help us to discern wisdom that is from above and wisdom that is demonic. Wisdom from above operates in the fear of the Lord. Demonic wisdom centers on self and is desire-driven. 

In the face of emergency, we are schooled to take action. Stop-drop-and roll. Dial 9-1-1. Hit the deck. In the same way, our reflex in the onset of trials must be to acquire wisdom because the trial offers weal or woe. We need to figure out how to navigate it with wisdom that comes from God. 

“Eternal, immortal, invisible, God only wise, lift my eyes to You in my turmoil.”

Stan Gale

Stanley D. Gale (MDiv Westminster, DMin Covenant) has pastored churches in Maryland and Pennsylvania for over 30 years. He is the author of several books, including A Vine-Ripened Life: Spiritual Fruitfulness through Abiding in Christ and The Christian’s Creed: Embracing the Apostolic Faith. He has been married to his wife, Linda, since 1975. They have four children and nine grandchildren. He lives in West Chester, Pa.
Books by Stan Gale