Thriving in a Hostile World Message Series

(Book of James)

Part 2 – How To Make Better Decisions
James 1:5-8

February 23, 2020
Dr. Mark S. Hartman, Lead Pastor



We make our decisions and then our decisions make us.

James 1:5-8  If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  6 But when she asks, she must believe and not doubt, because she who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  7 That person should not think he will receive anything from the Lord;  8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.


Wisdom is the correct use of knowledge.  It is the ability to take information, bring it together and get God’s perspective on the right way to use that information.  Think of it this way – Wisdom is the ability to know what God would do about your problem or your question.

A. Wisdom is the ability to discern the most important choice.

B. Wisdom is the ability to have the personal character to choose the right thing after we have discovered it.

1. Hebrews 11:24-27  By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter  25 choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin;  26 considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.  27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen.

2. Wisdom isn’t just the ability to say something wise, it is the ability to do something wise.



A. Admit your need.

1. James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom…

2. Proverbs 11:2  When pride comes then comes disgrace.  But with humility comes wisdom.

B. Ask.

1. Proverbs 2:6  It is the Lord who gives wisdom, from Him comes knowledge and understanding.

2. James 4:2  You have not because you ask not.

C. Trust God that He will give it to you.

1. James 1:5-6  But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to everyone generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  6 But let him ask in faith without any doubting,

2. The key to wisdom is prayer and the condition to the prayer is faith.

3. James 1:6-8  for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.  7 For let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

4. Don’t ask until you first make up your mind that you are going to obey God’s Word no matter what His Word tells you to do.



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

B. Psalm 119:105  Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

C. First, God will show us His Wisdom directly as we read the Bible for ourselves.

1. Proverbs 2:1-10  My son, if you accept My words and store up My commands within you,  2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding,  3 and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,  4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,  5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.  6 For the Lord gives wisdom, and from His mouth comes knowledge and understanding.  7 He holds victory in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, 8 for He guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones.  9 Then you will understand what is right and just and fair – every good path.  10 For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.

2. Proverbs 2:9  Then you will understand what is right and just and fairevery good Path.

3. Hosea 4:6  My people are damaged because they have a lack of knowledge about God.

D. Second, God gives us wisdom when we seek wise counsel.

1. Proverbs 1:5  A wise person will hear and increase in learning,  and a person of understanding will acquire wise counsel,

2. Proverbs 15:22  Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.

E. Third, God gives to us wisdom through Godly common sense.

1. James 3:17-18  But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure.  It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others.  It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no partiality and is always sincere.  18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness.

2. Answering 8 key questions as you are making decisions will give you Godly Common Sense:

1. Is what you want to do right in God’s eyes?

2. Will it produce peace?

3. Is it gentle and kind toward others, even your enemies?

4. Is it willing to be open to other opinions?

5. Does it show mercy toward others?

6. Is it doing something good for those impacted?

7. Is it impartial or is it an act of prejudice?

8. Is it sincere and honest?