If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5

James had a lot to say about prayer and wisdom and motives. Did you know that James talked about two kinds of wisdom? There is heavenly wisdom and there is earthly wisdom. As we grow older we usually accumulate earthly wisdom just by living and experiencing life and most of the time that earthly wisdom is the opposite of heavenly wisdom. Heavenly wisdom comes only from God and is only bestowed upon His people as they ask for it and grow in their relationship with Him.

In James 4, we can read about all the problems that had cropped up for this congregation. They were envious and jealous of each other, coveting what each had been blessed with. They were fighting with one another and James uses the harsh word, “murder” which is not literally killing each other but murder in the spiritual sense much like what Jesus meant when He talked about hating someone in your heart in Matthew 5:21-22. Selfish ambition is a form of hating others, then. And the murder here is speaking of the murder of someone’s character.

So how do we overcome selfish ambition and envy? Well, we ask God for wisdom. Heavenly wisdom will come in a life and rid it of the “vile practices” James spoke of in 3:16. Earthly wisdom is what produces those vile practices.
James reminds us that we are to ask for heavenly wisdom from God without doubting and finally, we’re to ask for heavenly wisdom with the right motives.

James came down pretty hard on those who ask for heavenly wisdom just in order to fulfill their sinful desires. If we are going to ask for God’s wisdom, we had better be sincere and in faith. Are you asking God for wisdom? Do you believe He can give it to you? Don’t miss out on all the benefits of godly wisdom. Purify your motives and be ready to use the wisdom He gives you to serve Him better.