What If I Am Such a Fool that I Cannot See It?
James 1:5,6 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God… and it will be given him. 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.
I’ve made enough mistakes in life that I have to suspect my own wisdom. We all know those who think themselves right and wise, but who in reality, are fools. The problem of course, is that foolishness is blind to its own presence. So, I have this fear that I am one of those, who though a fool, remain blind to it.
Wisdom, I think, is to have an objective, accurate view of reality that is untainted by my own biases and preferences. My perspective however, is so spoiled by my own misshapen flesh nature, that I think it is probably best to start by questioning all of my own thinking and preferences. It is usually safest to just assume that I should go to God in everything, asking for his wisdom, understanding that my thinking is corrupted by my own will. I often find myself asking God, What would a really mature, wise person do in this situation? That is usually not what Scott would do, but it is usually the right answer.
We can so often see when others are being foolish. We actually are very wise when we can be objective, unbiased by our own nature. It is easy to see when others are being blinded by pride, greed, lust and every corrupt desire. It is much more difficult to see when my own thinking is clouded by those same corrupt desires.
I may go to God asking if I should buy this house or that house. God may answer, I’m not that concerned with which roof is over your head. Give your money to those who need it more. Stop following the desires of your own flesh. Stop pursuing lust, greed, pride, drugs, and self. Follow me. Love me and love your neighbor.
Therein lies the problem. I often go to God asking for wisdom when what I really want is confirmation of one of my preferences. To truly go to God, asking for wisdom, means being open to the possibility that my best thinking is absolute foolishness.
This, I think, is what James was trying to tell us. If we truly want to be wise, we need go to God in humility, grasping the corruption of our own thinking. He said we are not to be distracted by the same wind and waves that caused Peter to sink. We are to ask God for wisdom in faith, keeping our eyes on him. The wind and waves of self and this world will constantly try to turn our gaze from God. In looking to self, we will be fools and remain blind to it. Wisdom, like faith, means constantly keeping our eyes on God.