Wisdom is the practical application of knowledge. While there are other more detailed descriptions of the word, wisdom never seems to stray too far from this basic definition. It involves properly applying the things we have learned to our daily lives.
We are repeatedly encouraged to grow in knowledge (2 Pet. 3:18; 1 Pet. 2:1-3). True knowledge is not associated with an over-inflated ego (1 Cor. 8:1). True knowledge comes from above and is pure, peaceable, gentle and reasonable (Jas. 3:17). This is a wisdom greatly needed in today’s world. However, we cannot make proper application of knowledge not in our possession. We must, therefore, diligently study God’s word, searching daily for precious truths which can be applied to our lives (2 Tim. 2:15; Acts 17:11; Ps. 19:10).
Speaking of wisdom, James writes, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:5-8).
Growth in wisdom requires an accumulation of both intellectual and experiential knowledge. Our knowledge grows as we study His word and put it into practice.
Now to the point James is addressing. Have you ever scratched your head in bewilderment trying to understand difficult circumstances? Have you ever wondered why you are having to go through painful situations? James’ encouragement to pray for wisdom occurs in the context of considering as joy various trials that test our faith and have the potential of producing endurance (Jas. 1:2-4). So, in light of all that is happening around us, our study of His word should be accompanied by faithful prayer asking for wisdom from above that we might be stable and productive in His service bringing honor and glory to His name.