If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, 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. James 1:5-8
This morning, I read the parable of the sower from Mark 4. Verse 8 says, “ Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.” I have to be honest and say that in my lifetime, I’m not sure I have ever seen a harvest of true life change that multiplied thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times. Why is that? Why when we live in a country where we are free to worship God, where there are thousands upon thousands of churches sowing seeds are we not seeing multitudes of people come to salvation and absolutely change our society, our culture, and our world? I could not get away from this question as I thought about the tragedy that occurred last week in France. Why is it that so called “religious” terrorists groups are advancing at a rate seemingly a thousand times faster than Christianity? As I look into the future, the future my children and grandchildren will be living, I cannot help but think if Christians do not rise up, if revival does not happen in our country, in Europe, and throughout the world, what kind of life will the generations who come after me have? Will they have freedom? Will they be able to worship the true God without fear? I wonder if God looks at us, His people - Christians and sees the Israelites of the Old Testament? We have everything we need for abundant life yet we still turn from God and from His ways. What kind of trials – personal and global are we bringing upon ourselves because we refuse to submit our whole hearts, our whole souls, our whole strength, our whole minds to Him? What must we do to change the face of our culture, our nation, and our world?
James 1:5-8 does not give us the answer, but it definitely tells us how to get there. If you have been tracking with us, you will notice these verses come right after the last verse we memorized. In James 1:2-4, James tells us to consider it pure joy whenever we face trials of many kinds, because this testing of your faith develops perseverance in you and that perseverance leads to maturity in your relationship with Christ. So, as James begins this next set of verses, we have to keep in mind these verses still refer to the wisdom we need to endure trials, personal or global, with God’s joy. As a side note, I appreciate James’ tactful way of saying, “If any of you lacks wisdom,” as if any human has all the wisdom needed to handle the trials of this life.
So, when we lack the wisdom to joyfully handle our trials, what is our next step? James tells us, “you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault.” We ask God because He is the source of all wisdom and has revealed wisdom to us through the Holy Spirit and His word, the Bible. And God, our good Father gives generously to all (meaning all believers) with a heart of love. We can come time and time again to Him and ask in faith for wisdom and he does not hold back from giving us good things.
The second half of the verses can be a bit more daunting, “But when you ask, 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.” When we ask God for wisdom in our trials, we ask because of our faith in God and in his existence because to ask from God, you must believe that he exists, that he cares for you, and that He is able to give you wisdom. Scripture tells us when we doubt, we are “like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” You see, the sea has no inner power or ability to direct itself but is at the will of the wind and is unstable and chaotic.” This is the picture of the person who lacks faith in God or who doubts God and James says, “that person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” The idea of being double minded is the picture of the person whose face is facing two opposite directions. The double minded person is curious about God’s wisdom but is not fully surrendered to do God’s will, especially if it is not what he or she wants to hear or if it involves suffering or inconvenience. James says this person will not receive anything from the Lord.
Sweet friends, I know many of you are facing incredibly difficult personal trials. It is my honor and my privilege to pray for you as you go through the storm. We do not have the luxury of God always answering the way we want Him to answer. The doubts we feel as we ask Him to move in our lives are different than the person who asks out of a heart that is not fully surrendered to Him. I pray these verses encourage you, I pray they give you the courage to ask God for wisdom to give you inner, abiding joy in your trial. I am also praying that as Christians, our worldview will become more affected by our Christianity instead of our Christianity fitting into the box of our worldview. As we have a global outlook, ask God to give you wisdom, He created each of us with a purpose. The joy of the Lord is our strength and with that strength, we can sow seeds and reap a harvest of true believers that will multiply thirty, sixty, even a hundred times.
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We have another great lock screen image for you to download, this is a great way to keep this verse in front of you as you memorize it.
Hand lettering by Nicole Baldridge. Find her work on IG @nicolebaldridgedesigns