Articles from the Blog
Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. — 1 Peter 3:3,4Many years ago, my wife and I were invited to minister in a church that believed it was a sin for women to wear jewelry or cosmetics. We only discovered it was this kind of church when we arrived that evening. As is our custom in our ministry before I preach the Word, Denise stood to sing. Her song was exceptionally beautiful and anointed that night. However, I noticed that while she sang, the people kept pointing to her lips and to her earrings. They were obviously distraught about Denise’s jewelry and cosmetics — and as a result, they missed the entire song! It is on the basis of First Peter 3:3,4 that some religious groups believe the use of jewelry and cosmetics is a sin. Those verses say, “Whose adorning let is not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” Was Peter really saying that it was a sin for a wife or a woman to wear jewelry or cosmetics? Let’s look at these verses to see exactly what Peter was communicating when he wrote them. You will see that Peter was not bothered by wives or women wearing jewelry or cosmetics. Instead, he was telling them not to invest all their time in their faces and their outward appearance while forgetting to invest time in developing their hearts. You see, women in the first century, especially upper-class Greek and Roman women, were obsessed with their outward appearance. They were flamboyant in their hairstyles, spent vast amounts of money on cosmetics, arrayed themselves in luxurious jewelry, and prided themselves in the lavish clothing they wore. Nothing was wrong with their desire to look nice — except they were so consumed with adorning their bodies that they forgot to adorn their hearts! The word “adorning” in First Peter 3:3 is the Greek word kosmos, which is used 187 times in the New Testament. As noted earlier, the word kosmos carries the idea of something that is ordered or something that is set in a certain arrangement. This word kosmos is where we get the word cosmetics. This tells us that when a woman applies makeup to her face, she is trying to add order to her face. The King James Version translates it adorning because the application of cosmetics not only beautifies a woman’s appearance, but also gives it a greater sense of order. I assure you that husbands appreciate this “adorning” very much! Contrary to what some religious groups assert, there is no implication in this verse that cosmetics are a sin. Peter simply never says that! As noted above, Peter’s point is that women shouldn’t put all their efforts into adorning their faces; they need to remember to adorn their hearts as well. Then Peter goes on to mention the “plaiting of hair.” By using this phrase, he is referring to a practice that was very common among Greek and Roman women in the first century. These women didn’t just pull out the blow dryer and spend twenty minutes preparing their hair for the day. Rather, they literally spent multiplied hours toiling with their hair! I say women “toiled” with their hair because it took a great deal of work and time to produce the fashionable hairstyles of that time. In fact, the word “plaiting” used by Peter is the Greek word emploke, which describes the intricate, complex, and outrageously elaborate braiding of a woman’s hair. You see, the Greek and Roman women were obsessed with turning their hair into towers of intricate curls and braids. If you visit a museum of antiquities and look at the statues of first-century women, it will amaze you to see the thousands of little curls that were woven into women’s hair. This hairstyle was considered beautiful, elegant, and fashionable in the first century. Husbands must have thought this style was beautiful on their wives because the fashion trend was imitated all over the Roman Empire. As a result of this popular rage, women invested huge amounts of time and great sums of money to produce the desired effect. As you will see, Peter was not against woman making their hair more beautiful. He simply didn’t want believing women to focus all their attention on their hair and forget to improve the condition of their hearts. Next, Peter mentions the “wearing of gold.” This was another common practice that was considered very fashionable. The word “wearing” is from the Greek word perithesis, and it describes placing an object, such as a piece of jewelry, around oneself. You see, the Greek and Roman women loved to drape many chains of gold around their necks, affix multiple solid gold bands around their upper arms, and wear many golden rings on each finger. They considered their appearance to be more impressive and beautiful when they were elaborately decked out in layers of gold. Peter then discusses the “putting on of apparel.” The word “apparel” is the Greek word himation. It pictures the brightly colored, richly beaded, posh clothing that was popular among Greek and Roman women in the first century. Women were so fashion-conscious that they frequently changed their clothes during the course of the day. This means they were constantly running in and out of the closet and looking at themselves in the mirror as they fine-tuned their outward appearance for the day’s different events. Consider the many hours women spent applying their cosmetics, fixing their hair, and draping themselves in gold. Now add the multiple times they changed clothes in a day and all the time spent adjusting their clothes in front of a mirror after each change. When you take all this into account, you realize that these women used a very significant portion of their time — not to mention investing a large amount of their money — in maintaining their outward appearance. When Peter wrote about all these things, he began by saying, “Whose adorning let it not be.…” Many have understood this statement to be a prohibition against wearing cosmetics, gold, or expensive clothing and against fixing one’s hair. But in reality, Peter was simply urging wives not to make the mistake of putting so much time and attention into improving their outward appearance that they failed to invest time in the maintenance and beautifying of their inner man. This is why Peter goes on to say, “But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” In essence, he was saying, “Ladies, it’s all right to do what you can to look outwardly beautiful. However, don’t forget that the most important emphasis and the place to invest most of your time should be in the beautifying of the hidden man of the heart.” Dear wife, it is all right for you to look beautiful. In fact, your husband appreciates it when you make yourself look beautiful for him. Demonstrating to your husband that you want to look pretty for him is one way you can show honor to him. Therefore, Peter’s words are not a prohibition against trying to look the best you can in your outward appearance! Then what is Peter saying to wives and women? He is simply stating that it is a mistake for women to put so much time and effort into their outward appearance that they ignore their inner man — the true source of their beauty. Peter knew it was the custom of first-century wives and women in general to spend countless hours working on their face and hair, so he wanted to encourage them to work on their hearts as much as they worked on their outward appearance! So do all you can to look beautiful, wife, and don’t feel guilty because you wear beautiful jewelry or nice clothes. But at the same time, don’t forget that your spirit is the real you and the most beautiful part of you. God isn’t against your desire to work on your outward appearance; however, He wants you to spend at least an equal amount of time developing and beautifying your spirit. Are you spending enough time “adorning” your spirit the way God wants you to? The answer to that question will largely determine the quality not only of your marriage, but of your life!
My Prayer for TodayLord, thank You for wanting me to look beautiful, both inside and outside, both for myself and for my spouse. I take this word to my heart today, and I make the decision that from this day forward, I will spend at least the same amount of time beautifying my spirit as I spend looking nice in my outward appearance. Forgive me, Lord, for those days when I have found time to dress properly and look outwardly attractive, but I didn’t take the time to pray or read my Bible. Help me get my priorities in order as I make the development of my spirit a higher priority than fixing my hair or putting on makeup.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI confess that the beautifying of my spirit is a high priority in my life. I don’t make the mistake of putting all my time and effort into improving my outward appearance while forgetting to invest time in the development of my spirit. I read my Bible; I pray; and I let God deal with my heart. Because I have made the choice to make my spirit beautiful, I am becoming more godly and beautiful all the time. I have an inward beauty that far outshines anything I could ever do to improve the appearance of my outward man!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer1. How much time do you spend on your outward appearance every day? How does that compare to the amount of time you daily spend with God? 2. How much time do you think you should be spending alone with God every day in order to develop and beautify your spirit the way God wants you to? 3. What is one area in your inner thoughts and attitudes that you know needs to be changed? What steps are you taking to remove the ugliness that keeps springing from that part of your life and to replace it with the godly fragrance of Jesus Christ?
Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. — 1 Peter 3:1,2Many years ago we had a young couple in our church who were madly in love with each other. Every time I saw them, they were holding hands and looking blissfully into each other’s eyes. We all got such a kick out of watching them and were excited about their upcoming wedding. Several months after they were married, I noticed that this young husband looked downcast and depressed. I went to him privately and asked, “How is marriage?” He replied, “Why didn’t someone warn me about how terrible this was going to be?” I was shocked by his response, so I asked him, “Please tell me what is happening to give you such a bad impression of marriage.” The husband proceeded to tell me about all the rules his wife had made for him and their household. For instance, if he didn’t read his Bible when he woke up in the morning, she refused to make his breakfast. Her rule was “No Bible, no breakfast!” He told me that many mornings he would go to the kitchen to get his sack lunch for the day, and his new bride would tell him, “Today the Lord has told me that you need to fast, so there won’t be any lunch for you today. You need to spend time in prayer.” The young man continued to tell me that many evenings when he came home from work exhausted, his wife would order him, “Tonight we are going to sit on the couch and read the Bible together for two hours —you, me, and my mother. Then we’re going to spend an hour in prayer.” When I heard what was happening, I chuckled inside. I knew this sweet little new bride was trying to encourage her husband to be the spiritual leader of their new home, but her approach wasn’t effective. In fact, it was having just the opposite effect she desired. Instead of causing her husband to feel closer to her, this young wife was pushing him far away by constantly preaching at him and demanding that he become the spiritual leader she expected him to be. But after the couple attended a few counseling sessions with me, the wife backed off and let her husband assume his leadership role on his own terms. When she relaxed and let him lead in a way that was more natural to him, the tension left their marriage and they reentered marital bliss! A wife who takes on the role of preaching at her husband will never find this method very effective. It is usually a huge turn-off for a husband because it makes him feel like his wife, who is supposed to be his greatest supporter, has instead become his corrector and boss. Men resent this behavior. This is why Peter told the wives, “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives” (1 Peter 3:1). In the first century, women came to Christ more readily than men — a situation that has always seemed to exist in the Church. This meant that a huge portion of the Early Church was comprised of women who had come to Jesus Christ but whose husbands remained unsaved. Of course, these women wanted their husbands to be saved, so after a church service, they would often run home and begin to preach to their husbands. They saw themselves as God’s anointed evangelists to bring their husbands into the fold. But those unsaved husbands didn’t perceive this to be a blessing! From the husbands’ perspective, their wives’ preaching sounded like nagging and complaining. This approach produced such negative results that Peter told wives to stop preaching to their husbands and to instead live godly lives before them as their method of evangelizing. Peter wrote, “…If any [husbands] obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives” (1 Peter 3:1). The phrase “…if any obey not the word…” alludes to unsaved husbands, but it could also refer to saved husbands who are not living in obedience to God’s Word. The words “obey not” are from the Greek word apeitho, which emphatically refers to someone who refuses to be persuaded. This person isn’t just ignorant of the truth; he is defiant and rejecting of it. Therefore, besides referring to unsaved husbands who hear the message and reject it, as Peter was most likely writing about, this phrase could also refer to saved husbands who refuse to do what they know God wants them to do. I can think of so many Christian wives who want their husbands to change. These wives beg, plead, nag, and pester their husbands all the time to do this different or to do that different. But no matter how hard a wife pressures her husband, he will remain stubborn, obstinate, and unmoved. If God doesn’t touch his heart and cause him to respond on his own, all the begging and nagging in the world won’t change his heart. Wife, whether your husband is saved or unsaved, the method of impacting him is the same. Peter says you can win your husband without ever uttering a single word! Now look at the phrase “…they also may without the word be won….” The word “won” is the Greek word kerdeo, an old Greek word which means to act cleverly. It was often used in secular literature to depict someone who won a game, such as the game of casting lots. In today’s world, it could depict a person who plays his cards right and therefore walks off with the booty! Therefore, the word kerdeo (“won”) means to wise up; to act cleverly; to play the game correctly; or in today’s vernacular, to play your cards right. Peter is telling wives how to win the game of positively influencing their husbands without ever saying a word! He tells them that the most influential thing wives can do is to let their husbands see their “conversation.” The word “conversation” is the Greek word anastrophe, a Greek word that refers to how a person rises up and sits down; goes in and goes out; and turns this way or that way. In other words, the word anastrophe gives a picture of how a person conducts his life and how he or she behaves in every situation. By using this word, we are told that there is no message more powerful than a godly life — and that a wife who lives a godly life before her husband greatly impacts his decisions and the way he lives.
The Greek words used in this text present the following idea:
“…If any refuse to comply with the Word and do what it says, you can still win the game without ever uttering a single word by simply letting your husband take note of and observe the way you live your life before him.”I am married to a very godly woman. Denise has great influence in my life, not because of what she says but because of how she lives. I see her pray every morning. I watch as she sacrifices to follow me and how she has always done it with a willing and joyful heart. I have watched her forgive those who wronged us and our ministry. I see how attentively she takes care of our sons and how she loves our son’s wife. She stands by me, supports me, helps me, encourages me, and is indeed my closest friend. Denise’s godly life is her greatest pulpit. I see her rising up, her sitting down, her going in, her going out, her turning this way and that way. Because I know her life and her outstanding attitude, I have great respect for her, and I listen when she speaks to me about things that concern her. In fact, of all the people in my life, my wife has the single greatest impact on me and my decisions. Her godly life has empowered her to have this authority with me. You could say that she won me and my respect because she showed me her life instead of just preaching sermons at me. This is a good example of Peter’s statement to wives in verse 2 that husbands will “…behold your chaste conversation.…” The word “behold” is the Greek word epopteuo, which in Greek means to observe, to watch, to monitor, to scrutinize, or to keep under observation. The tense used in the Greek indicates a continual observation. This means a husband doesn’t just notice his wife’s behavior once; rather, he keeps a watch on her behavior and attitude all the time. Wife, let me tell you a secret. Your husband may not tell you, but he is watching you. He sees and is amazed when you remain happy and content in very unhappy circumstances. He notices when you have an opportunity to be angry but choose instead to be silent and to take that anger to the Lord. Your husband observes your uncomplaining attitude when financial sacrifice is required. On the other hand, he also takes note when you blow your top and say ugly things. You can be sure that even though your husband may not tell you, he is constantly monitoring your attitude and responses to the situations of life. This is why Peter says that you should let your husband “…behold your chaste conversation….” The word “chaste” is the word agnos. It refers to holiness, purity, or irreproachable conduct. In other words, men notice it when their wives are awesome! A wife’s godly conduct is the most influential, powerful sermon she could ever preach to her husband. Peter goes on to say, “While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.” This word “fear” does not refer to the kind of fear that makes a person shake and tremble because he is terrified. In this context, it carries the idea of respect. Knowing that a husband feels valued when he senses his wife’s respect, Peter urges women to live holy lives before their husbands and to do everything they can to demonstrate respect to them.
The words in First Peter 3:2 could be paraphrased to carry this meaning:
“Wives, your husbands are watching you constantly. They see you rising up; they see you sitting down; they see you going in; and they see you going out. They are constantly observing you, so make sure they are seeing you live a pure and holy life, and give them honor and respect as you do it.”If you’ve been preaching at your husband to no effect, perhaps it’s time for you to change your method. Make the quality decision to stop talking to him about the things you’ve been wanting him to change in his life. Instead, take your concerns to God in prayer. Leave your husband alone, and let God deal with him. When you suddenly fall silent and cease to preach at your husband, I guarantee you that he will notice a change has taken place in your approach toward him. He will “behold” this change in your attitude. He will “behold” that you aren’t correcting him anymore. He will “behold” that you are leaving him alone and that you have chosen to take a different route. As you learn to stay silent rather than preach at your husband, he will probably begin to hear the Holy Spirit speaking to his heart. And when your husband sees you maintain an excellent attitude in the midst of circumstances that aren’t going your way, his heart will be drawn to you. He’ll begin to get convicted, and his desire to do more to please you will start to grow. You see, wife, Peter knew exactly what he was talking about when he wrote that you could win your husband without a word. Therefore, it’s time for you to get before God and ask Him to change your heart and your attitude about your husband. Learn to be clever by keeping your mouth closed and letting your godly life and good attitude do the preaching for you!
My Prayer for TodayLord, I ask You to help me learn when to speak and when to be silent. I don’t want my husband to perceive me as a nagging wife. Please forgive me for preaching at him when I should have been praying for him. Help me to stop focusing on all the things I don’t like about him and to start working on all the things that need to change inside me. I want to be a blessing to my husband. Please help me live a life so godly and powerful that it becomes my pulpit in our marriage.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI confess that I live a powerful, godly, and chaste life before my husband and am therefore a constant encouragement to him. He seeks my advice; he wants my help; and he desires to know what I believe is right regarding decisions that affect our family and relationship. God’s Spirit is changing me and making me to be the kind of wife He wants me to be!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer1. Can you think of a time when your husband resisted your continual requests for him to do something — but then suddenly changed his mind after you backed off and left him alone? 2. Have you had moments when you’ve heard the Holy Spirit say, “Leave your husband alone, and I’ll deal with him”? Did you leave your husband alone as the Spirit instructed you, or did you keep hammering at him to do what you wanted? 3. What is the most important thing you have learned from today’s Sparkling Gem?
Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives. — 1 Peter 3:1When the apostle Peter wrote about the needs of husbands and wives in First Peter 3, he knew exactly what he was writing about. Peter had been married for a very long time when he wrote these famous words about marriage. That means Peter was speaking from many years of being successfully married to a wife who traveled with him in the ministry (see 1 Corinthians 9:5). As Peter addresses wives about how to be a blessing to their husbands, he begins by telling them, “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands.…” The word “subjection” is the Greek word hupotasso, a compound of the words hupo and tasso. The word hupo means under, and the word tasso means to arrange or to put something in order. It was often used in a military sense to describe soldiers who were expected to fall in line and submit to their commanding officers. Every time the word hupotasso is used, it describes the relationship of someone who is submitted to some type of authority and who is expected to act according to that order of authority. There are many other examples where the word hupotasso is used in the New Testament. For instance, Paul uses this word in First Timothy 3:4, where he gives the instruction that children are to be “in subjection” to their parents. The word “subjection” in this verse is also the word hupotasso, which emphatically means that God has given parents the authority to lead their children and that children are to respectfully submit to their parents’ authority. When Luke writes of Jesus’ relationship to Joseph and Mary in Luke 2:51, he uses the word hupotasso to describe this parent-child relationship. You see, Jesus was the Son of God and Creator of the universe. But while He was in the flesh, He followed God’s pattern, respectfully submitting to and following His parents’ God-given authority. This example in Jesus’ life shows the extent to which God respects the order He has set in the home. Although Jesus is God and could have done what He wished while He walked on this earth, He voluntarily submitted to the authority God had entrusted to His parents, thus setting an example for all children to follow. The word hupotasso was most frequently used in a military sense to describe a soldier’s submission to military authority. This tells us that just as the army has a specific order of authority, so has God designed a certain order for the home that He expects to be followed. Because Peter uses the word hupotasso when writing to wives, he leaves no doubt from a linguistic point of view that God has set the husband as the head of the home and the wife is to respectfully fall in line and submit to his authority.
Because Peter uses the Greek word hupotasso in this verse, it means he is encouraging wives in this way:
“Likewise, wives, you need to position yourself under your husband’s authority. This is God’s order for your home, so do all you can to become supportive of your husband.…”Peter knew that one of the greatest needs of a husband is to have a wife with a supportive attitude. You see, a man fights at his job all day long, struggling to pay the bills and trying to overcome his own insecurities and self-image problems. If he then comes home to a wife who nags, complains, and gripes about everything he doesn’t do right, her behavior has a very negative effect on him. He’s already fought the devil all day long; he certainly doesn’t need to come home to a wife who is ready to fight with him! As a result, the husband often responds to a nagging and critical wife by hardening and insulating his heart against her. Instead of drawing closer to his wife, he withdraws from her emotionally. Now, it’s important to understand that when Peter commands a woman to be in subjection to her own husband, he is not recommending that she become a “doormat” whom the husband takes advantage of. Rather, Peter is urging each wife to take her place as her husband’s chief supporter and helper. When a husband comes home from a hard day at work, he needs to be greeted by a loving, caring, kind, understanding, and supportive wife. This kind of wife makes a husband feel as if he’s found a place where he can find rest and solace for his soul. Her supportive attitude makes him want to run to her, for she has fulfilled her role as his best friend and partner. Although we do find one New Testament scripture where the older women are told to teach the younger women how to love their husbands (Titus 2:4), it is very interesting to note that nowhere in the New Testament are women directly commanded to love their husbands. Instead, wives are told to be “in subjection” to their husbands. Why is this? Because a husband perceives his wife’s love when he senses her support. Nothing communicates a wife’s love to her husband better than a supportive attitude. It is when a wife gets out of that supportive role and attempts to become the husband’s authority and head, constantly rebuking and correcting him for what he isn’t doing right, that her actions cause him to emotionally push away from her. Wife, God never designed you to assume authority over your husband. It will therefore bring disruption to your marital relationship whenever you attempt to do so. So if you want your husband to know how much you love him, look for ways to show him your support. In this case, your attitude and actions really do speak louder than words. Writing by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and from many years of personal experience, Peter urges wives to be submissive to their husbands and thus demonstrate their love and respect to them. Now, it is important to understand that submission is not just an outward action; it is a condition of the heart. It is possible for a wife to outwardly comply but still be inwardly unsubmissive and resentful. Thus, there are two ways a wife can respond to her husband’s authority:
- She can follow his leadership angrily and resentfully, kicking and screaming all the way.
- She can submit voluntarily with a joyful and supportive attitude.
My Prayer for TodayLord, I ask You to please forgive me for complaining to my husband about everything he does that I don’t like. He needs me to be his friend and supporter, and I now realize how often he must perceive me as another enemy he has to fight. Please help me to come to You with all my complaints while maintaining a helpful and supportive attitude toward my husband. I am sorry for the damage I’ve done, and I now ask You to help me turn things around in my marriage relationship. Teach me how to respond in every situation with a respectful and supportive attitude toward my husband. I know I need Your help, Lord, so I am looking to You for the grace and the strength I need to do this right.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI confess that I am a supportive wife who demonstrates love in the way I approach my husband. He doesn’t see me as a nagging and complaining wife but as a friend to confide in and to look to for strength. God is able to speak to my husband without my interference. I trust God to speak to him, and I trust God to deal with my heart and to help me take on a supportive role in our home.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer1. Are you a support to your husband, or does he feel like you are attacking him most of the time? Does he draw near to you, or does he shut up and emotionally protect himself when the two of you are together? 2. Judging from your husband’s response to you, what do you need to change in the way you are approaching him? 3. Why don’t you ask the Holy Spirit to give you ten new ways you can demonstrate your support for your husband and show him that you are behind him? Write down these ten ways to be supportive, and then begin to do them today.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. — James 1:5Yesterday we learned from James 1:5 that if you and I lack wisdom, we have the right to go to God and insist that He give us the answers we need. In fact, the Greek tense used in that verse tells us that God actually commands us to come to Him when we need wisdom. Furthermore, the Greek word used to describe us asking God for wisdom indicates that God wants us to be firm and resolute when we request wisdom from Him. But before God will open His hand and give us the wisdom we need, there is a condition we must meet. That condition is spelled out very clearly in James 1:5, where the Bible says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God.…” The condition we must meet to receive wisdom from God is found in the phrase “of God.” In Greek, these are the words para theou. The word para means alongside of, and it depicts a very close, side-by-side, intimate position next to someone else. The word theou is the Greek word for God. When these words are placed together in a phrase, as in this verse, it pictures a person who comes right alongside of God, who comes as close to God as possible, who stands side-by-side with Him. In this statement, we discover God’s requirement of us before He will give us the wisdom we need. If we want wisdom, we must come right up alongside of God in order to obtain it. You see, God wants a relationship with us. He doesn’t want to just freely hand out answers to our problems. He wants us to come to Him. And the moment we get side-by-side with God, He opens His hand and reveals everything we need to know and understand about the situations we are facing. So often, however, believers allow themselves to become too busy with the affairs of life, and they fail to take time out of their hectic schedules to get into the intimate Presence of God. They want God to meet their need “on demand,” but they don’t want to fulfill God’s need to be close to His people. Rushing into the Presence of the Lord, these believers stay only long enough to make their requests known to Him before they rush out again to resume their busy schedules. They don’t stay long enough for God to enjoy them and to speak to their hearts about the deeper subjects of life that may be the real root of their problems and shortfalls. When James tells us to “ask” God for the wisdom we need, the word “ask” means we can be very bold and insistent. But for us to get what we request, we must ask “of God.” In other words, we must come right up alongside of God, getting as close to Him as possible, and then make our request. If we will fulfill this requirement of coming close to God and opening our hearts to Him and to His touch, He will then gladly open His hand and show us every answer we need. But be prepared for God to show you additional things you weren’t expecting to see! When you come into His glorious light, that light penetrates you and reveals defects and dark places in your soul and behavior patterns that need to be changed. But if you stay out of God’s Presence, it is very possible that these defects may never become apparent to your own eyes, for many things can only be revealed by getting into His Presence. Could it be that you have avoided the Presence of God because you are afraid of what you might see in yourself if you came into His glorious light? Once you fulfill this requirement of getting right alongside of God, He is obligated to give you the wisdom you seek from Him. That is why James says that God “…giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not….” The word “giveth” is the Greek word didontos, which comes from the word didomi. The word didomi means to give, but the form used here is didontos, which describes one who is in the habit of constantly giving. This assuredly tells us that God is not one who holds out on His people or who refrains from giving them wisdom when they need it. Instead, James tells us that God is in the habit of giving wisdom to His people when they need it. He is “the giving God.” Not only does God give us the wisdom we need when we meet His requirement to come close to Him, but James 1:5 promises that He gives it “…liberally, and upbraideth not….” The word “liberally” is the Greek word haploos. It depicts something that is given generously, abundantly, plentifully, bountifully, and open-handedly. You see, if we’ll meet God’s requirement to come close to Him, He will profusely answer the questions we have and impart the wisdom we need. The words “upbraideth not” are from the Greek word oneididzo, which means to rebuke or to reprove. However, in this case, the word me is used in front of this word, making the entire Greek phrase me oneididzontes, which means to not rebuke or to not reprove. In other words, God will not rebuke you or reprove you for asking anything of Him. You are His child, and He wants you to have the wisdom you need for life. You’ll find God to be open-hearted and ready to answer any question you ever put to Him. But before He gives you those answers, He first wants you to fulfill His requirement of coming alongside of Him, where He can love you and fellowship with you and where you can feel and experience His love. In that up-close, side-by-side encounter with God, you will also become aware of all the other areas of your life that need attention. And here’s the good news: In His glorious Presence, God will not only make you aware of these areas that need adjustment, He will also give you the power and ability to change! James 1:5 says that if you will meet God’s requirement to come close to Him, “the giving God” will give you the wisdom and answers you need. So don’t let yourself rush in and out of the Presence of God too quickly any longer. It’s time for you to learn how to spend time in the Presence of the Lord so He can shine His glorious light upon your life! Let Him bathe you in His glory. Let His glory shine on you and reveal the dark areas in your life that need to be changed. Stay in His Presence long enough to let the wisdom you are seeking sink into your spirit and soul. Never forget that God is “the giving God” who wants to meet your need. But for that need to be met, you have to come right up alongside Him — and you can only do that by making room in your daily schedule for spending time in His Presence. Are you ready to include God in your schedule today?
My Prayer for TodayLord, I know that You are a giving God who wants to meet my needs and answer my questions. But I understand now that I have a condition to meet first: You require me to come close to You so You can reveal to me those things I need to know. Please forgive me for rushing in and out of your Presence so quickly in the past — making my demands and insisting on those things I need, but not taking enough time to fellowship with You and meet Your need to be with me. I am so sorry for the times I’ve been in such a hurry that I neglected spending time with You. Starting today, I want to change my daily schedule so I can spend time in Your Presence and come closer to You than ever before!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI confess that spending time with God is the highest priority in my life. This time with Him is not an option in my life. He wants to give me all the wisdom and answers I need, but first I must meet His requirement to come close to Him. When I get right next to God, He is obliged to open His hand and show me everything I need to see. I live continually in His Presence; therefore, no form of darkness or ignorance nor any defect in my character can remain in my life!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!