From Pastor Tony Tice:
I know it’s a bit early for Christmas, but have you ever seen the movie “A Christmas Story”? It’s a story that takes place in the fictional town of Hohman, Indiana. The movie centers around nine year old Ralphie who throughout the movie asks for a Red Ryder Carbine Action 220-shot Range Model air rifle for Christmas. It’s all he asks for. His mother, his teacher, even a Santa Claus at Higbee’s department store, all give him the same warning: “You’ll shoot your eye out.”
But Ralphie will not be be deterred. And sure enough he gets the gun on Christmas morning from his dad (much to the displeasure of his mom). Ralphie takes the Red Ryder out for a shoot. He fires the gun at a metal sign in the backyard, however, the BB ricochets back at him and knocks his glasses off. He is immediately haunted by the words of those who tried to tell him, “You’ll shoot your eye out.”
This provides a good reminder for us… make sure we’re asking for the right things! This is especially true when going through trials in our lives. In verses 2–4 of James chapter 1, the biblical author helps us understand WHY God allows us to go through trials (to test, toughen, and total us). In verses 5–12, he helps us know HOW to go through them. And one of the key ways is to… ASK God for wisdom.
King Solomon understood the importance of this. In 1 Kinds 3, when God told Solomon he would grant him one wish, Solomon didn’t ask for wealth or power. He asked for wisdom to help lead a nation and effectively navigate the inevitable trials that would come his way. What a great lesson we can learn from Solomon! We need to seek the wisdom of God to deal with the situations of life.
James tells us to pray for wisdom. But he also warns us that when we pray for wisdom, we must pray by faith. We have to believe we will receive!
What does it mean to pray by faith?
- It means we believe God is a good Father who wants to give to His children.
- It means we will pray not just to be delivered from trials but for wisdom to grow through the trials.
- It means we will accept His answer and respond in obedience.
- It means we will not grow weary in coming to Him in prayer.
There’s nothing wrong with asking for a Red Ryder Carbine Action 220-shot Range Model air rifle. For that matter, there’s nothing wrong with asking God to take away the difficulties we’re going through in life. But a far superior thing to ask is for God to give you wisdom on how you can grow and endure through the difficulties you’re going through. That’s a greater gift than a Red Ryder BB gun. Plus you won’t shoot your eye out!
- So, do you believe you will receive? If not, why not?
- Of the four descriptions of what it means to pray by faith, which one are you struggling with the most? What could be an action step for you today?
- List some of the trials and difficulties you are going through right now. Go over each one of them with God in prayer and ask specifically for Him to help you grow in wisdom as you face them.
- Ask a trusted friend to pray for you. Specifically that God would grow your faith in the midst of the challenges you are facing.
- Memorize James 1:12.