One of the devil’s best ways to keep me from growth and blessing and ministry is to get me to ask God for wisdom and then NOT PAY ATTENTION.
Good intentions are the enemy of the good, because, since our attitude feels right, we assume that we are right, even when we haven’t done right.
In James 1 we read, if any one lacks wisdom (hopefully I realize who that includes) let him ask of God, who gives to all men liberally and doesn’t yell at you for not knowing or for taking so long to ask, and it shall be given him, but let him ask in faith nothing wavering.
What does that imply? I must be prone to ask for wisdom in order to LOOK spiritual and not because I humbly admit that I am not and then ask for wisdom to BE spiritual and to bless and take care of his people.
Is it possible that, deep down, I am aware that ALL scripture, if paid attention to will reprove me and I don’t particularly like to be reproved. I want to go to church and to pray like a Pharisee. I pretend to ask for wisdom in order to feel and look better to myself and others, not so that I may see the painful truth about myself.
All our research show that ONLY a person who honestly examines himself, realizes that they can’t see how bad they really are and asks for painful feedback, considers it carefully, applies it and then rewards it, WILL DO WELL. They will wonder if they are is doing well because they see a bit more of their shortcomings.
I was asked by a friend who had been saved for only a year. “When do you get to where you aren’t always slipping up and having to repent and get back on track all the time? When do you arrive at consistent godliness?” “Well”, I said, “I’ve been saved for 62 years and am not there yet. I hope I didn’t discourage him. Remember, it’s the walk not the arrival that lets God use me and reward me.
I may only pretend to ask God for feedback, and then not go to his word for reproof. I may also ask others to give me feedback yet subtly let them know that, if they do, I will make it painful for them and it will not result in my changing.
If our friends were foolish enough to give us honest feedback: we would pretend to listen and then not change, we would explain why they have misperceived, we might point out that they are not so great themselves, we could make an excuse (the only one who believes an excuse is the person who makes it) or we might agree and then depress at them, “you’re right I’ll just quit and do less or go kill myself right now”.
I know of a boss who wanted to be more godly and figured that feedback from his troops would help. So he scheduled 15 min sessions with all his workers to give him feedback. Now he had been truly striving to be a godly boss. So, when he met with them and they said, ” Oh you’re fine boss”,he assured them that he was for-real and shared with them something he’d NOTICED ABOUT HIMSELF. Then they said,” Oh you really want to know?” Then each of them needed an hour instead of the scheduled 15 min. He was a bit depressed but became a much better boss.
I have found that feedback is painful so I am a bit “double minded” about asking for feedback or benefiting from it. However, if I acknowledge the Lord is correct and that feedback is a blessing then he will reward me for asking even if I am a bit anxious about it. The double mindedness of James 1 is the person who doesn’t acknowledge the truth but just want to look godly so “asks” and does not pay attention.
I need to show the Holy Spirit that we are for real so that he will open the word to us. “Lord here is what I see in myself, help me see more so you may help me grow.”