Get Wise Quick: The Not-So-Secret Secret to Gaining Wisdom

Get Wise Quick: The Not-So-Secret Secret to Gaining Wisdom


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

  • If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God… and it will be given to him.
    • Y’all I don’t know how to make it much planer than that, but I am going to try… let’s break it down to the very basics today… because I would love to pastor a church full of wise believers.
      • I want to be a wise believer myself.
        • So if there is some secret in this verse to becoming wise, I want to know it.
  • Get Wise Quick (The Not-So-Secret Secret to Gaining Wisdom)

Now the first not-so-secret secret step to gaining wisdom is simply to recognize your need for wisdom.

You need to know that you need wisdom in order to ask for wisdom, so let’s just start there…

Point One – Recognize Your Need For Wisdom

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

  • Now the first question that should be asked is simply this: What exactly is wisdom? How is it different from knowledge?
    • I have heard it put in many different ways.
      • Show Slide “Wisdom 1”
        • Knowledge is knowing facts, wisdom is knowing how to use those facts in a useful manner.
      • Show Slide “Wisdom 2”
        • Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is choosing not to put tomatoes in a fruit salad.
      • Show Slide “Wisdom 3
        • Good sense
    • But let’s dig a little deeper into this word Wisdom then a Merriam-Webster definition. Let’s look at how the word is used in Scripture.
  • The Word for wisdom here is the Greek word Sophia, and it is used to mean a variety of different kinds of wisdom.
    • Show Slide “Wisdom 4”
      • Human education (Acts 7:22)
        • This simply means book smarts, stuff you would learn in school.
      • Godly training (Luke 2:40, 2:52)
        • This is the kind of wisdom you learn from discipleship and Bible study. Knowing how to read and apply the word of God.
      • Anointing to speak (Luke 21:15; Acts 6:1-15; 1 Corinthians 2:7)
        • The ability to speak with power, and authority, and clarity… to speak persuasively so that even people who want to disagree will struggle to speak against you.
      • Ministerial ability (Ephesians 1:8, 1:17, 3:10; Colossians 1:19, 1:28)
        • Knowing how to spiritually help and guide others.
      • Prophetic anointing (Luke 11:49)
        • This is God’s prophetic anointing, when He speaks through someone.
      • Divine gift of wisdom (1 Corinthians 12:8, 2 Peter 3:15)
        • To be able to prophetically speak specific wisdom into someone’s life.
      • Native insight (Revelation 13:18; 17:9)
        • As Merriam-Webster put it… Good sense! You can just figure things out.
      • Christ the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24, 1:30; Colossians 2:3; 3:16)
        • A name of Christ
    • Now there are many other ways the word Sophia (wisdom) is used in the New Testament, some of them are negative, such as when the Bible speaks against the wisdom of man or the wisdom of this world.
      • Others are specifically attributes of God, such as Romans 11:33 that says “Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God…”
    • But I think the 8 forms of wisdom listed here sums up the kind of wisdom we might need pretty well.
  • So let me ask you, what kind of Wisdom do you need?
    • As we go through these, I would encourage you, make a list of all the kinds of wisdom that you need. Put it on the back of the announcements…
      • be wise enough to know that you are not wise enough without God!
  • So again I ask, what kind of wisdom do you need?
    • Do you need the kind of wisdom that comes from human education? That book smart wisdom?
      • Maybe you never did well in School… maybe you think to yourself “I will never know the Bible like so and so knows the Bible…”
      • Maybe you think “I am just not that smart”
        • Then you need to ask for this kind of wisdom.
    • I will tell you right now, if you were asked on a church feud card “Name a Biblical Country” and you answered, as many other people answer, “Bethleham” then you need to ask for this kind of wisdom.
      • Peter and John were illiterate for crying out loud, but God gave them so much wisdom that they looked like world renowned Bible scholars to the outside world. Look at acts 4:13

Acts 4:13 ESV  Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.

  • Because of the wisdom God had given Peter and John, the world was ASTONISHED by them! They knew these men must have gotten their wisdom from God, that they must have been with Jesus.
    • You can have this kind of wisdom if you would just ask!
    • This goes along with Godly Training
      • Maybe you were incredibly bright in school, you have your masters or your doctorates in this field of study or that…
        • But when it comes to the things of God you are still a babe in your understanding…
        • This is how the writer of Hebrews rebukes some of the people he is writing to:

Hebrews 5:12 ESV  For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food

  • He says “You ought to be teachers by now, but you are still babies in your understanding”.
    • Let me make it plane now… if you have been saved more than a couple years, you should be mature enough to be teaching the Bible to new believers.
      • If you are not, that’s ok… ask for this kind of wisdom and get in a discipleship relationship (Talk to pastor Mike and Tina).
    • What kind of wisdom do you need? Do you need education, or Godly training… or maybe you need an anointing to speak…
      • Maybe you are just so shy you are crippled.
      • Maybe you are terrified of evangelism… the thought of sharing your faith with a stranger… NO WAY.
        • You want to honor the great commission, you want to make disciples, but you don’t know how…
        • ASK FOR WISDOM!

Luke 21:15 ESV  for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict.

  • Going hand in hand with an anointing to speak is an anointing to minister…
    • God wants to use you to comfort others, to mourn with others, to rejoice with others.
    • And maybe you don’t know how, maybe you feel awkward… maybe you try to avoid these situations…
      • God can give you the wisdom to love, help, and ministers to others even in their hardest times, if you would simply ask for this wisdom.
  • Maybe you desire gifts of prophecy and divine wisdom.
    • To hear so clearly from God that you can speak on His behalf when He asks you to.
    • That you can prophesy into peoples lives.
      • That you can give them insight in wisdom to problems they are facing and you didn’t even know they were facing those problems.
    • And if you DON’T desire this kind of wisdom you need to start desiring this kind of wisdom because the Bible tells us to desire this kind of wisdom.

1 Corinthians 14:1 ESV  Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.

1 Corinthians 14:24-25 ESV  But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all,  (25)  the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.

  • If we all had prophetic wisdom, if EACH of us had this kind of prophetic gifting, to look at someone you don’t know and then say “God wants you to know XYZ”… if God gave each of us divine prophetic insight into others lives… Paul says that visitors to the church, unbelievers, WILL BE SAVED!
    • I desire that kind of wisdom for me and for all of you!
  • Now maybe you are hearing all of this and it is all well and good… but maybe you just need some common sense…
    • ASK FOR WISDOM, God can give you common sense as well… because common sense is a type of Sophia wisdom… and God said if you would ask for it, He would give it.
    • There is, according to James 1:5, NO EXCUSE for a church to be full of dimwitted doorknobs who walk around like one of the three stooges.
      • It has nothing to do with your smarts, or your education, or your background, or your genetics… it has to do with your faith.
      • Will you have the faith to ask for wisdom and believe for it, or won’t you?
  • That brings me to point two: When and How to Ask For Wisdom

Point Two – When and How to Ask For Wisdom

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

  • I never want to hear another Christian say “I am not smart enough to do XYZ…”, no, no, no, it’s not that you are not smart enough, it’s that you don’t have enough faith.
    • Instead of saying “Man, I am in over my head with this job, at this school, with my kids…” try saying “God, you gave me this job, you brought me to this school, you gave me this family… you brought me into this situation… therefore, Father, I ask that you would give me the wisdom to handle it, to excel at it, to get through it. I need wisdom Lord, please grant it to me.”
  • So again, point two this morning is when and how to ask for Wisdom.
    • And let me just tell you the not-so-secret secret for when and how to ask for wisdom.
    • Show “When and How Wisdom” slide
    • Ask for wisdom right now, ask for it often, and ask for it whenever you need it.
    • And you need to ask with faith and with boldness.
  • We are going to talk more about this next week and the week after, but for now let me read James 1:5 in the proper context…

James 1:5-7 ESV  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.  (6)  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.  (7)  For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;

  • You have to ask in faith.
    • Ask now, ask often, ask when the need arises…
    • And ask in faith… ask believing that God will answer.
  • Do you know what the word faithful means? It means you can put your full faith into that person.
    • An unfaithful husband is one who cheats… you can’t trust him.
    • An unfaithful friend is one who is flaky and lets you down often.
    • But God is faithful… you can put your trust fully in Him.
      • You ever have your spouse nag you about something you already said you were going to do?
        • Honey, don’t forget to take out the trash, it’s garbage day.
          • OK, dear, I will take it out when I am done playing video games with Pastor Jared.
        • Babe, did you take out the trash yet?
          • Not yet dear…
      • This kind of nagging is INFURIATING… why? Because each time my wife is proving to me that she does not have faith in me to do what I said I would do.
        • She is suggesting that I am not faithful to do all that I said I would do.
        • And honestly the nagging makes me want to do it less, it makes me LOATH wanting to do it.
      • IT IS INFURIATING… and it is just as infuriating to my wife the next morning when we wake up to the sound of the garbage truck and I run out of bed trying to get the cans to the curb because I realized that I forgot… even after being asked 5 times…
        • But I am not faithful like God is faithful…
          • And by the way, that was a joke example, my wife and I don’t bicker like that… often. We have a great marriage.
    • But all that to say “God is faithful”. He will do what He said He is going to do, doubting Him is a great way to get Him to say no.
  • But when you trust in Him to do what He says He is going to do, He delights in answering that prayer.
  • More on this next week, but for now, ask God for wisdom in faith, and watch Him answer.
    • I will give you a few examples from my life, where I have personally seen this to be true, as we close, then we will ask for wisdom together as a church.
  • The first example I have for asking for wisdom was when I was just 18 years old. I had been saved for only two years…
    • Remember when I said if you have been saved for two years you should be able to teach, I meant it!
    • And God through me into a tough situation.
      • Pastor Matt was leaving on vacation and our church was fairly small at the time. He asked me if I could be the point person for the church so he didn’t have to bring his phone with me. He was thinking if someone needed to get into the church, or wanted to know what time service started or whatever, I could answer for them.
      • I said sure, no problem.
        • So he gives my phone number as the number to call for the week.
      • Halfway through the week I get my one and only phone call.
        • It wasn’t about what time church started, or needing a favor…
        • Nope, it was a man weeping and screaming through his tears.
        • His wife had left him, packed her bags in the middle of the day and up and ran off with the kids.
        • He said it came out of nowhere, and he didn’t know what to do, he needed help, he needed ministering too, he needed wisdom.
      • So, when and how do we ask for wisdom? We ask now, we ask often, we ask when we are in need, and we ask in faith believing that God will grant it to us.
        • So I was in a time of need for wisdom. I did not know the first think about marriage… but the spirit was telling me I needed to minister…
        • So I prayed for wisdom…
          • And God began to speak through me…
          • And there, driving home from work as an 18 year old young man, I ministered, preached, and quoted scripture to this man.
          • I comforted him and gave him wisdom for his marriage, not by my strength but by God’s.
            • I entered that conversation knowing NOTHING about marriage, and left that conversation confident that I had counseled him will with Biblical God given wisdom.
              • You can have that wisdom too, if you would ask.
  • A few months later, my best friend died. He was 19, I was still 18. His name was Eddy and he loved the Lord.
    • His family is Russian, his dad Dma speaks English and Russian but his mom and Grandma only speak Russian.
      • I was in the hospital waiting room when Eddy died, it was about 2 in the morning.
      • Dma comes running out of the hospital rooming, weeping… he runs up to me and says “we need a pastor”, I say “I will call pastor Matt right now”, Dma says through his tears and in slight panic “no, we need a pastor right now”.
      • Then he ran back to Eddy’s hospital room.
        • I called Pastor Matt, who lived 35 minutes from the hospital, Matt told me “You need to go in there and be the pastor”.
      • For the first time in my life, I did not know what to pray, but the Holy Spirit reminded me of a sermon on Tongues from church… that when we don’t know what to pray to pray in tongues.
        • So I began, for the first time in my life, praying in tongues.
        • After crying out in tongues, I walked to the room and in faith asked “Father, I need your wisdom, I need your help, I don’t know what to do”.
          • And God answered, He told me to open my Bible to the psalms, I did and opened to Psalm 23. I did not know Psalm 23 was the go to psalm in this situation, but God gave me the wisdom to turn there.
          • I began reading it, Dma translated into Russian.
        • And for the next 35 minutes, as we waited for pastor Matt, I preached from the psalms to a mourning father, mother, and grandmother… next to the body of my best friend… all of it being translated into Russian.
          • I can tell you that death bed ministry has not gotten any easier since then, but God has always given wisdom.
  • One last example: When we trained for a year in church planting technics, we trained in Singapore.
    • Singapore is a nation on the equator, they do not have winter.
    • All of the training we did was about door to door evangelism and street evangelism.
      • We were well trained and pumped up.
      • Then they sent us to Iowa… in January…
        • We wrote them and said “Hey, how are we supposed to witness in the middle of winter”
          • They wrote back “You should do door to door evangelism and street evangelism, like you were trained to, just wear a coat”.
      • And Amanda and I were like “They don’t understand what winter is like in Iowa!”
        • This particular winter almost 9 years ago was VERY COLD, it was in the negatives every day for all of January and most of February. It got down to below -20 for a week straight…
      • So what did we do? We prayed for wisdom right then and there, and we prayed in faith.
        • That wisdom came in two ways… first it was just common sense wisdom that God gave us…
          • You can’t do street evangelism, but you can do the same thing in the malls!
          • So we did, we went to the malls to witness twice a week.
        • But it also came with direct intervention from God. I was driving downtown and I passed a place called “Crossroads ministries”, I don’t know if it even exists anymore, but God told me to stop.
          • So stop I did, I went inside and told the person at the front desk what we were doing.
          • She said “I can’t really help you with that, but here is a sheet of local ministries”…
          • I took the sheet, said thank you, and went home.
          • On the sheet was probably 50 different ministries… I looked at the list, and God highlighted the Mission of Hope, it jumped out at me.
            • So I called the number and asked if we could help them, they said yes please.
            • I went down later that day, and they sent me up to the directors office.
            • I went up and asked “how can we help” I did not say we were looking to replace street evangelism or that we wanted to start a church, just “How can we help”.
            • He said “What I really need is some people to come a few times a week, sit down with people who are eating, and share the gospel with them.”
            • I said “You want us to evangelize?” and he said “Yes, lead them to Christ then find a church for them to go to”
  • And thus, we started CLC with people form the Mission of Hope and from the mall.
    • And the church grew.
      • And that has been the story of CLC ever sense. We ask for wisdom, God gives it, and we find success and victory. Thank you Jesus.

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

  • You don’t have to be an ex-drug-addict to minister to drug addicts.
    • Ask for wisdom.
  • You don’t have to be from a Muslim family to minister to Muslims.
    • Ask for wisdom.
  • You don’t have to be the smartest kid in school to minister to your teachers.
    • Ask for wisdom.
  • You don’t have to be from a Christian family, or even a healthy family, to raise your kids right.
    • Ask for wisdom.
  • You don’t have to be the sharpest crayon in the box to excel at work.
    • Ask for wisdom.
  • Ask for it now, ask for it often, ask for it when in need, and ask for it with faith and without doubting.
  • What is the secret for quick wisdom? ASK FOR IT AND BELIEVE FOR IT. It is that simple.


  • When we listed the types of Sophia wisdom, the last one was “Christ the wisdom of God” which is a name of Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:22-24 ESV  For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom,  (23)  but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,  (24)  but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

  • Christ the Wisdom of God…
    • Maybe the kind of Wisdom that you need today is Christ.
    • Maybe you need Christ.
    • And you receive Christ the same way that you receive any other kind of wisdom… you ask for Him… right here, right now, in faith.

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

  • Gospel Call
  • Eve wanted wisdoms.. Her way vs Gods way
    • Genesis 3:6 ESV  So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
    • Prayer for Wisdom in the Church

Aaronic Blessing


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