James 1 presents an important idea: when temptations arise, we should rejoice since every temptation is an opportunity to grow in godliness by doing the will of the Lord. A wise person sees the opportunity for spiritual growth when tempted and chooses the godly path, valuing their sanctification over the instant, temporary delights of sin. However, not all carry that wisdom with them. For that reason, James instructed in verse 5, “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.”
Praying for wisdom is good, but James also says, “he must ask in faith without any doubting.” In the book of James, faith necessarily includes obedient action from the one who has it (see James 1:22; 2:17). When a person asks God to provide wisdom, they are responsible for learning His will and obeying it. Otherwise, they should expect nothing from God, according to James 1:7.
According to James 1:9-11, the amount of earthly riches in a person’s possession affects the ease with which they will acquire the wisdom of God. The poor brother of verse 9 has fewer joys in life to distract him from godliness and should boast of that blessing. The rich man of verses 10-11 must look past the glitter of his riches, boasting that they are part of this passing existence on earth, instead focusing on the eternal riches laid up by obedience to God.
Every Christian must prioritize the Lord Jesus and their sanctification through obedience to His Word when tempted. This is the wise way. When you pray for wisdom, obey God’s Word in all things, and you will find it.