walk in the word
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” – James 1:3
Did you ever play dodge ball as a kid? Someone flings a large ball at a group of kids and they scramble wildly as they try to dodge the ball. I remember some wildly competitive elimination games of dodge ball in gym class as we would hide behind each other, trying to keep from getting hit.
Sometimes I observe followers of Jesus playing a spiritual version of the same game. Most Christians agree in principle that God is trying to change them, but they dodge the specifics. “Change? Me? Absolutely!” we often say, but in reality we dodge the process. Willing to buy into change in general terms, we squirm and twist and dodge when God uses a person or circumstance to point out the specifics.
In every situation and circumstance, through every person that you meet, God is working to make you more like His Son, Jesus Christ. But that can’t happen unless you allow God to point out the specifics. As long as you relax in the land of generalities, you will not experience the transforming power of the Gospel. By specifics I mean we must identify (with God’s help) the specific areas of failure or defeat so that God can give us victory.
If you are truly serious about personal transformation, you must be willing to ask “What’s the next step? What’s the specific thing that God is working on in me today?” I often hear people say: “Yeah! I want to be like Jesus, sure! Who wouldn’t?” Hey, listen, there is no true commitment to personal change without a willingness to get specific.
Can you name a specific area of your life that is not like that of Christ and is bringing you heartache because of it? What specific thing is God seeking to work on in you today?
On the broadcast we’re going to explore five steps to help us get specific about what God is working on in us. Here’s the first one:
Ask God for wisdom to know exactly what He wants to change in you.
God is the Architect. He is the Contractor and He is the Coworker in all personal change. We cannot begin without His blueprint in hand—His specific wisdom on where to go to work. But part of His wisdom is to use trials. Therefore, James wrote, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (James 1:2). The word “fall” there actually means a sudden, unexpected hardship. “Various” is the same concept used to describe Joseph’s coat of many colors. It means that trials come suddenly and in all shapes and sizes, i.e. financial, relational, physical, emotional, etc.
According to verse 3, the goal of these trials is to produce perseverance in you. God is trying to produce staying power in you—the ability to remain under the pressure. The ability to remain in that marriage—as hard as it is. The ability to remain in that job—as hard as it is. The ability to stick with it in that difficult circumstance—no matter what. If God can produce in you that staying power, He can give you everything else. There is nothing good that God brings into your life by way of transformation that He doesn’t bring through the funnel of perseverance. If God can get that characteristic into your life, He can truly make you what He wants you to be. Look at the promise: “Let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (verse 4). God can get every characteristic of Christ into your life if He can just teach you to persevere.
Listen, loved one. God wants to do so much in your life and you have been resisting because you won’t let Him produce perseverance in you. God wants very much for you to know what He’s working on in your life. But it must begin here: Ask in faith for God’s wisdom. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (verse 5).
Now, how great is that promise? God loves you so much that He is willing to give you mega -wisdom about the specific things He is trying to change in you. He’s not trying to hide it from you; just ask Him.
God will not reveal what He is trying to produce in you unless you give Him a blank slate to work on and you can say from your heart, “No restrictions, Lord. Anything in my life, go for it, I’m Yours!” Bottom line: Until you are cooperating fully with God’s desire to transform you, He will not give wisdom in regard to what He is working on in your life. When you have made that full surrender, you are truly ready to “get specific.”
So here’s what you need to do: Begin by asking God for wisdom, then open your Bible to one of the many lists that describe the heart of a person God is changing, such as Colossians 3:5–10 or Ephesians 4:22, 24, and God will get specific with you. If you would like a very specific, very detailed list to review, follow this link and pray, “Lord, convict my heart about something in Your Word that You want to change in me.”
brought to you by change partners