Ask for Wisdom! – Part 2
“That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.” (James 1:7 NIV)
Right now, in Italy, in China, in the United States, in Brazil, in Nigeria, in Poland, in Thailand—all over the world—God is giving good gifts to people as they pray. That’s what James exhorts us to do: to pray. “If anyone of you lacks wisdom [or anything else you need], you should ask God…” (James 1:5, emphasis added). For us to receive anything from God, however, we have to meet one condition, according to James: “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt…”
Notice that James didn’t say that you must not disbelieve. He said, "... you must... not doubt." Doubt is not unbelief. The person who doesn’t believe doesn’t doubt; the person just doesn’t believe, period.
The word for doubt in the Greek means that sometimes you believe, but sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you believe God is going to come through, and you shout, “Hallelujah!” But when things look bad, it’s “Oh no, this isn’t going to happen!” And you fluctuate between the two. That’s a doubter, and the word actually means tending toward not believing.
Then James gives a picture word, saying that the person who doubts is like a wave of the sea in the midst of a storm. Picture a thirty-foot wave as it comes crashing down. The doubter could be really up one moment, saying, “Oh, thank you, Jesus!” and hit rock bottom the next.
Aren’t we all that way sometimes? We’ve all battled with doubt.
James says that the person who doubts is unstable: one minute on cloud nine and the next minute in the valley. Then comes the indictment: "that person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord."
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live up one moment and down the next. How do we avoid this? By praying to God! As I think of the blessings he’s given me, I’m going to go to him in prayer, with praise and thanksgiving; and as I think of my need, I’m going to go to him in prayer, with praise and thanksgiving! I will sit; I will stand; I will kneel in prayer. I will pray in church; I will pray at home; I will pray at school or at the job!
Even though I don’t immediately see the answer, I want to hold on to God… I want to trust him, knowing that he’s working out something better than you or I could ever imagine!
Read James 1:6-8.