A Question of Character

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
James 1:5

Theology, properly speaking, is defined as the study of God. Sounds heady, stuffy, maybe even boring; I’ll admit to falling asleep to a theology book or two. We have to toss the picture in our head of theology being something that is limited to books. Theology is how you think about God. Its how you think about God on your best days when the wind is at your back, its how you think about God when it seems like the roof is caving in, its how you think about God in the mundane.

The Bible tells us who God is, giving us our source for theological knowledge. When we read a passage, one of the most basic questions we can ask ourselves is, “What does this text tell me about God’s character?” One of the most notable and frequent attributes of God’s character we find in the Bible is his goodness. (Word search good or goodness for further study.) James 1:5 says God gives wisdom without reproach. What does that mean?

God’s good nature (unlike our sinful nature) means he gives wisdom to those who ask. He doesn’t give it to judge us more harshly, or to rob us of our joy, or because he looks down and thinks, ‘Man, that dummy keeps doing that, I’ll give him wisdom!’ God gives us wisdom, without ulterior motives, without reproach, because he is good.

When it hits the fan, inevitably, we all functionally toss our good theology out the window and question God’s character from time to time. Our actions do not communicate a belief in God’s sovereignty, goodness, and justice. James 1 tells us when trials and tests come our way, we should pray for wisdom and trust God—not question his character (Ja. 1:13-15). The God of the universe loves us in spite of our foolishness, gives us good gifts, and gives them because he is good, not because he is obligated to do so.

When you ask for wisdom, know you are asking God, who gives because he is good, not because you are good. When you lack wisdom and act like a fool, God gives grace to cover your sins in Christ. God’s generosity and goodness is on display most clearly in the person and work of Jesus. Reproach is defined as to address someone with disapproval. God doesn’t give with reproach because we have approval in Christ!

Today, pray and ask for wisdom. Praise God for his goodness and generosity that comes without reproach. As you read scripture, ask God to show you his character. As you go about your day, ask God to show you when your actions don’t align with a belief in God’s goodness.

For further study and meditation: Ja. 1:1-18, Ps. 25:7, 27:13, 31:19, Tit. 3:4, Rom. 8:18, 1 Pet. 4:12, Pro. 18:2, 12:15, 1:7, Ps. 14:1

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