Wisdom Protocol

Wisdom Protocol

Pastor Don Carpenter / General

James 1:5–8

The story is told of an old man whose grandson rode a donkey while they were traveling from one city to another. The old man heard some people mumbling, “Would you look at that old man walking, suffering on his feet, while that strong young boy is totally capable of walking?”

The criticism cut deeply, so he changed positions. The old man started riding the donkey while the boy walked. Sure enough others started grumbling. “Would you look at that—a healthy man riding the donkey and making that poor little boy suffer! Can you believe that?”

To avoid further criticism, the old man changed again. This time, he and the boy both hopped up on the donkey. They both started riding. You guessed it, people still criticized him. He could hear people saying, “Would you look at those heavy brutes making that poor donkey suffer.”

So he and his grandson jumped down and they both started walking. He thought, No one will criticize us for this. But people are fickle. He soon heard some people say, “Would you look at that waste-—a perfectly good donkey not being used.” The old man was at his wits’ end. What should he do? The old man decided to carry both the donkey and boy.

Do you ever at your wits’ end not know what to do? This old man tried to make wise decisions but ended up carrying a monstrous burden. Why? He looked to his own knowledge to resolve his problem of receiving criticism. He needed more insight than he had.

Life is complicated. Often we are given confusing information or conflicting input. COVID has served as a mighty illustration of that point. Wear a mask… don’t wear a mask… and the statistics slung by folks from all sides make me dizzy.  

So we go to the Bible. We can get absolute truth from the Bible! But what if there is a subject we need to address that is not specifically addressed by the Bible? COVID protocol is not a scriptural topic. Sure, you could read things into passages, but you know and I know that you cannot honestly say the Bible gives clear direction about masks, vaccines, or social distancing. What about non COVID stuff? Should you take that job? Should you date? Should you marry? Should you buy a car or wait?

James tells us in chapter 1 and verse 4 that it is possible to be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. But wait! I don’t know what to do here! James, through the Holy Spirit, tells us that it is possible to get specific Wisdom from God fashioned specifically for you in your specific situation. In order to know from God what is the best choice to make you need to follow Wisdom Protocol.

Ask For Wisdom From God.

James 1:5 KJV

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.

  • Ask The Giving God

• Acknowledge your lack of wisdom

 • Ask and search the scriptures.

 • If your “answer” conflicts with Scriptures then it is not God’s Answer.

 • If your “answer” conflicts with someone else’s choices, recognize that God can lead different folks differently.

Romans 14:4 KJV

Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

Ask The Gracious God.

 God gives his wisdom to men not only just for the asking but also without chiding a man for his previous sins, many of which the man may not even know he has committed.

 – James B. Adamson

Proverbs 10:22 KJV

The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, And he addeth no sorrow with it.

Ask For Wisdom In Confidence.

James 1:6–7 KJV

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 

For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

Hebrews 11:6 KJV

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

 • Ask in faith – confidence in prayer

 • Ask without wavering

Doubting (?????????????). Compare Matt. 21:21. Not equivalent to unbelief, but expressing the hesitation which balances between faith and unbelief, and inclines toward the latter. This idea is brought out in the next sentence.1

1 Marvin Richardson Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, vol. 1 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1887), 725.

 The doubter is like “a sea of waves,” now wind-driven toward the southeast, and now toward the northwest, with nothing that could sensibly be called progress. Though we know there could be a storm on the Lake, we are here assuming no more than normal winds and their effects on the waters.  – James B, Adamson

The most famous doubter of all time is Thomas. Through history Judas has been the only disciple criticized more than Thomas. Tradition has given him a new name: “Doubting Thomas.” He wanted proof that Jesus was resurrected from the dead.

But can you blame him? When the resurrected Christ appeared to some of his disciples, Thomas was not there. Can you imagine seeing someone die, knowing he was buried, and then hearing from friends that they had seen him alive? You might feel sympathetic toward them, expecting them to get over it in time. If they keep telling you on and on and on, you might feel a need to confront them. That was the situation for Thomas.

In recent years, many Christians have been more sympathetic to Thomas. They have recognized that if they had been in the same position they may have had the same doubts. In his position, I have almost no doubt that I would have been a doubter. My nickname might have become, “Doubting Mark.”

 Devotional writer Selwyn Hughes wrote “Those who doubt most, and yet strive to overcome their doubts, turn out to be some of Christ’s strongest disciples.” Thomas was transformed, saying, “My lord and my God!” That does not hit us as powerfully as it would hit the original disciples. Before that day, they called Jesus rabbi, meaning teacher. They called him Christ, meaning the anointed one. The called him the son of the living God. No one, before Thomas, had called Jesus, “God.” Jewish leaders would not have hesitated to pass the death sentence on Thomas for blasphemy. It was an incredible and dangerous thing to say.

 The Bible says that the one who had been most honest about his doubts was the first to call Jesus, “God.” There are traditions that say he was the disciple who traveled furthest to tell others about Christ. Tradition teaches that he proclaimed the gospel in Babylon, Persia, and all the way to India. There are Christian churches in southern India claiming to trace their heritage to Thomas.

Ask In Stability

James 1:8 KJV

A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

Double-minded (???????). Peculiar to James, here and ch. 4:8. Not deceitful, but dubious and undecided.

Unstable (???????????). Only here in New Testament. The kindred ???????????, confusion, is found ch. 3:16, and elsewhere.1

1 Marvin Richardson Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, vol. 1 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1887), 727.

God is not pleased with a double-minded (lit., “two-souled,” dipsychos; cf. 4:8) man who is unstable in all he does, like an unsteady, staggering drunk. The answer from God depends on assurance in God.1

1 J. Ronald Blue, “James,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 821.

When the Spanish explorer Hernando Cortez landed at Vera Cruz, Mexico in 1519 he was intent on conquest. To assure the devotion of his men, Cortez set fire to his fleet of eleven ships! With no means of retreat, Cortez’s army had only one direction to move, into the Mexican interior.

Cortez understood the price of commitment—and he paid it. He did not want his soldiers to possess a divided loyalty (a double minded man!, Lk 16:13, Mt 6:24, James 1:8).

Have you settled the issue of who is Lord of your heart?

Have you “burned down the ships” and left the old ways of the world behind you?


God really does answer prayer! God really does give wisdom! God really does lead individually. I know we would rather have someone just tell us every little detail of the Christian life, but that is not God’s design. He wants you to come to Him, the Giving God. He wants you to come to Him in confidence. He wants you to get rid of the instability of hesitation, but come to Him in the rock solid stable expectancy that He will give you the wisdom you are asking for. This is Wisdom Protocol.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 12:10 PM September 24, 2020.

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