Good Morning Summit Family,
In our journey to achieve a mature and complete faith, James shared yesterday the one thing we should be asking God to grant us is WISDOM. Not only does James share that wisdom is the critical ingredient to a mature faith, but he also shared that God would grant it to us generously and without finding fault. In other words, God isn’t going to find some reason to withhold granting wisdom to us.
As I reflect on the need for wisdom as it relates to the maturity of my faith, I am reminded of the past trials I have experienced in my life and how the end result of those trials was directly impacted by the wisdom or lack of wisdom I demonstrated in the midst of those trials!
James’ next statement challenges us to evaluate the depth of faith we currently have in Christ. “But when you ask (for wisdom), you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” (v.6-8)
It is important to understand these verses because they are frequently taken out of context. The intention here is not to infer a “prosperity” approach to life. Unfortunately, I have heard this passage used as a bargaining tool in an attempt to get “things” from God. Maybe you have heard them as well. Here is an example: “I have prayed and asked God for a new car and the Bible says that if I ask believing, God will give it to me.” While there are many scriptures sharing that God will meet our needs (Philippians 4:19, Matthew 6:25), I have not been able to find any that suggests that God is some kind of “Santa Claus” ready to respond to all of our requests.
This passage is specifically stating that when we ask for WISDOM, we must believe that God will grant it. Think about this: does it make sense that God would tell us to ask for wisdom, knowing it is the critical ingredient to having a mature/complete faith only to withhold giving us the very thing He has told us to ask for! If you question whether God would answer that prayer (a request for wisdom), you should probably question what you believe about God.
That is why James goes on to describe the kind of relationship a person has with Christ if they doubt God’s desire to grant wisdom. A person who doubts is “like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”
Our family is a “beach” family. We love the beauty of the mountains but are drawn to the beach. As a result of spending a lot of time at the beach, we have had the opportunity to observe how the ocean is impacted when it is tossed by the wind. It changes direction, intensity, and the churning of the waves are in specific response to the wind.
It seems clear that James is trying to convey that when we doubt God’s response to a promise he has given us (God will generously give wisdom to those who ask!) that sense of doubt is an indication of a lack of faith. It is an indication that you are unstable in your relationship with God.
I have seen relationships where both spouses have complete faith in each other. They trust, respect and have confidence in their spouse. Those are relationships that have proven genuine, probably through the trials they have persevered through life together. I have also seen relationships where each has doubts about the faithfulness of the other. They lack the confidence, trust and respect that are necessary to endure the trials of life. Unfortunately, when the trials of life come, those are the relationships that do not last.
James goes on to share that persons who doubt God and are therefore tossed by the wind are double-minded. That seems to suggest they change their minds, their convictions, their perceptions, their commitments as often as the wind changes. I am amazed at how quickly the wind can change directions.
James’ final statement in these verses is a sobering one. He states those people who doubt God’s response to their request for wisdom are not only double-minded, but they are unstable in all they do. If we are unstable in our relationship with God, we are going to be unstable in everything. What a powerful statement!
It appears the question we should be asking isn’t: Is God going to be faithful? The real question should be: Does my faith in God translate into believing He will do what he says He will do?
James is about to provide several examples of life situations that will allow us to reflect on how we can use the wisdom God will generously give us to respond in ways that will bring Him glory.
The journey is about to get exciting!