Ask, because He gives: Devotional Commentary for May 3-9
This is the Word of God. May the Spirit of Truth give us Wisdom and Insight to receive what has been conveyed through His Word by His Inspiration.
5But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
6But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.
7or that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,
8being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
James realizes that a joyful response to a difficult human condition does not exactly reflect man's natural way of dealing with trials. But he still urges us to "count it all joy" when we encounter the insufferable. He does so because he knows there is a way, a trustworthy way, a reliable way.
The issue at hand is not whether or not we should rejoice in suffering. That is a sacred principle given to us as a spiritual precept to live by. But how can we practice the Joy of the Lord if we cannot find such Power within the core of our being, our emotions, our will, and our intellect? That is the crux of the matter.
James says, indeed we should not live with such spiritual deficit. Our spiritual shortfall is remedied by the wisdom God generously supplies.
Two spiritual factors must be evident before we can address our shortcomings. We must acknowledge that we lack true wisdom both to correctly understand the challenges of Christian living, and to faithfully apply godly wisdom to stay the course. We must also acknowledge that God is the only Source of true wisdom. But our knowledge and belief are of no effect until we ask for wisdom, and ask by faith.
Asking is not a means by which we compel God to give us what we think we need. Rather, it is an acknowledgement of our inadequacies and an expression of our trust that God will indeed give us wisdom for the asking in a manner that is pleasing to Him. God is generous and approachable. He is gracious and forgiving. He pardons our faults and gives us wisdom so that we might know the truth and abide by its precepts.
A request for wisdom from God is actually a manner of prayer to God. And prayer to God is an expression of faith by which we confess our needs to our Father before Whom all things are plainly known. So we ask for wisdom by faith without doubting.
As noted above, asking by faith reflects an acknowledgement of need and a trust that God is the Answer. As with all prayers to God, any request for wisdom not based on a profound faith in His sovereignty and graciousness is of no effect because it is displeasing to God. Anything done by unfaith is put forth in doubt.
James resembles doubt with a stormy sea, a turbulent wind, a raging sea tossed about by violent waves. A heart so disturbed by doubt is too unstable to commune with God in faith, with knowledge and understanding.
God’s wisdom is of no profit to a heart that is blocked by doubt. Such a person is unstable in his mind and is unable to consciously surrender to receive what is missing. Such a person is spiritually out of alignment with God.
A person who doubts God should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Those who are in the fetters of a faithless doubt lack the spiritual discernment to recognize both the need for wisdom and the blessings of divine gift. A double-minded person remains devoid of true wisdom, focus, fervency, and faith. Such individuals would not have the voice of faith by which they could offer a prayer of faith to God for anything including wisdom. They shall linger in doubt until they are brought to a spiritual clearing by the transforming Power of the Spirit of God and the gift of wisdom from God.
The text in James chapter one verse five embodies the essential message of James' epistle. That is, wisdom from God is necessary to understand God and to obey God. What we lack, God supplies. What's missing is restored by God.
It has been said many times and in many ways that life is a tale of diverse trials. James does not seem to contradict this reality. actually, he calls for a candid awareness of the facts and an earnest petition to God for wisdom because we often find ourselves puzzled and perplexed. The idea of a suffering Christian conflicts with our notion of a divinely favored child of God.
However they come, trials always test the quality of our faith and the maturity of our relationship with God. Being finite and limited in every way, our faith needs constant refinement as prescribed and administered by God our Father. That is why James exhorts us to seek wisdom from God so that we might understand how He is using difficult circumstances to draw us closer to Himself.
Our attitude toward trials needs to be shaped by the correct perception of God's Will and Purpose in our lives. For that, we need wisdom from God. Both the appraisal of our own life's experiences and our spiritual expectations must be defined by the sacred principles put forth by the Author of life, faith, and the riches of our spiritual blessings. But our finite mind is often influenced by the overwhelming power of the events around us. Only wisdom from God helps us see beyond the immediate and the earthly.
Wisdom is the stepping stone to maturity. It sets us free from double-mindedness. We are on a journey. Faith is the path while wisdom is the fuel, and obedience the mode of operation. A life that is separated from the world cannot function by the wisdom of the world. A life that is secured and preserved by God's Grace will thrive by wisdom from God.