“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.” –James 1:6 (NIV)
We saw in verse 5 how we should ask for God’s wisdom if we lack it and God will give it to us. This sounds almost like God is Santa Claus! If we just write Santa a letter, we will get what we ask for. But James puts a condition on our request. We must believe. This means the prerequisites to God’s provision of wisdom are: 1. You are a Christian, and 2. you pray in faith.
In regard to the first prerequisite, it only makes sense that God’s wisdom is provided to followers of Christ. Why would those who don’t believe in God turn to God for answers? 1 Corinthians 1:18 says, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” Believers have access to God’s wisdom through prayer. But, then comes prerequisite numero dos.
We must pray in faith. It is easy to trust God when things are going well, but if you sprinkle in some pain, testing, or trials, doubt creeps in. Doubt is pausing or holding back in uncertainty. We need to be honest about our doubts. Even pastors have doubts! We need to pray, “Lord, I believe, help me in my unbelief.”
If we have doubts, James says we are like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. One of my favorite places is the beach. I love seeing the expanse of the ocean, I love listening to the waves crash on the shore, I love the call of the birds, I love everything about the ocean. But it is also unpredictable. A wave may be bigger than we can tell, there is the undertow that can drag you out to sea, and a whole host of other things (sharks!). Our doubt is like the uncertainty of the sea. It blows us around from side to side. A mind that wavers is not completely convinced God’s way is the best. We try to retain the option to disobey.
How often have we said we believe and trust God, but then work at it as if He doesn’t exist?
What about you?
What are you trusting in? Yourself? God’s wisdom?
Why do we doubt God’s provision?
When you ask God, do you truly believe He will answer your prayer (especially when you ask for wisdom)? Remember, God does not always answer our prayers the way we think He will.