If we wish to ask God for wisdom, the first thing we should ask ourselves is how can we tell if we have wisdom? The Scriptures provide the criteria to see true wisdom.
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. (James 3:17)
This is to say: when we lack peacefulness, gentleness and mercy toward others, or show partiality and hypocrisy, we can see that we are missing wisdom from God. So what is the next thing we can do?
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. (James 1:5~6)
If we have a troubled mind, it is because God’s wisdom has been blocked by our mind. God said we can pray to Him and ask for wisdom. He will help us overcome the trouble and help us to be gentle and merciful to others. He will help us to address our spiritual issues.
The question is: why is the problem still there after our prayer? Does that mean our faith is not strong enough?
Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. (James 2:24)
God gives us much guidance. He gives us methods to deal with our problems. But a lot of the time we care more about our own feelings than those of others, and in so doing, we disobey God’s guidance. When we care more about our own hurt feelings than others troubles or struggles, then we prevent ourselves being kind to others. We miss the chance to communicate with and try to understand others. A lot of the time people get into a strained emotional state because there are things troubling them. They get even more frustrated if their voice has been ignored. Do we give them a chance to express their feelings, and do we listen? Denying others emotion troubles can turn into our own hurt feelings. This is not wise and we and we often allow this situation to happen. God likes us to work out our own feelings and talk to each other with kindness. That way, we put the communication into action and our action becomes “justified”. God guides us in the right way to communicate. If we act upon it we will see the result. When things start changing it is a confirmation of the work of God. We should continue to put effort into building a trusting relationship, until a good relationship is established. The process of building relationships is one process of receiving wisdom.
Dear friends! God gives us wisdom but do we come forward to receive it? It is our decision to act or not. So God said, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. (James 4:17)”
God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. (James 4:6)
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. (James 4:10)
If we don’t obey and act, it means we are showing pride towards God. If we are not in awe of God, even if we have faith we can’t be call justified. When we are humble and in awe of God we can receive the wisdom from God. God is fair (just) and he gives everyone the same chance. He guides everyone in ways which suite each individual to follow. The wisdom is hidden in His guidance. So God bestows wisdom fairly. It is through our free will that we choose to receive it or not. This is the principle of asking for and receiving wisdom. When the wisdom has been received, we see the signs of wisdom, loving kindness and mercy. These are the fruits of the spirit. To see wisdom and the fruits of the spirit, we need to follow the guidance of God and act upon it to receive it. This is the principle of spiritual reality.
If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? (James 2:15~16)
This question appears to relate to material needs, how is it related to the spirit? Consider this: when a person has no food and no clothes to wear how does that person feel? He would be upset and depressed. If a person lacks basic needs and people only pray to God without comforting action, how can the problem be solved? God guides us to help the poor. If we act within our power and capability, we will see the signs of wisdom show in our acts, which are gentleness, love and mercy. These are the fruits of wisdom. They grow bigger while the action continues. So we say the wisdom is in action. When we see the signs of spiritual qualities it means we see the wisdom.
So when we or others have troubled feelings, we pray to God to bestow wisdom. When we have an idea for the solution, we need to act and let the seed of wisdom be able to grow. Continuing to act will make the growth continue and eventually grow into sweet fruits. When we start to act it means the seed of wisdom has been planted. When we continue to act it means the wisdom is growing. The result of continued action is the maturity of wisdom. So we should be happy for others or for ourselves whenever we see people serving others selflessly and we have the opportunity to serve. Service to others is not a burden, it is the effort to plan the seed and make the wisdom grow. The quality of service in action is the symbol of wisdom. The fruits of wisdom require care to reach maturity. Sacrifice is the care and nutrition to make wisdom grow. We acquire wisdom in our daily life through service and sacrifice.
I hope this explanation will encourage our selfless service to others. And I hope to see God’s children and servants full of the fruits of wisdom more and more.
Praise be to God and Glory be to God! Yá Bahá’u’l-Abhá!