James 1:5-8 ESV
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
I see so many people quoting verse 5 independent of vv. 6-8, but we shouldn’t do that because we need all those verses to get the complete thought. For, vv. 6-8 serve as a qualifier for v. 5. For, vv. 6-8 are the stipulations for v. 5 to be realized.
So, what does it mean to doubt? For one, it means we are just “blowing smoke” because we don’t really believe the words we are praying. We may be mouthing the right words, but in reality we aren’t really believing God to answer us, perhaps because we don’t honestly want his wisdom.
Have you ever prayed for God to give you wisdom, but you did your own thing anyway? Perhaps you had no intention of listening to him, but you could at least say you asked him. But there is no point in asking him if you don’t intend to do what he tells you.
If all we do is mouth meaningless prayers we are wasting our time. And if all we do is go through the motions of being a Christian but we aren’t genuinely committed to following Jesus with our lives in submission to his will and purpose for our lives, then we are wasting our time there, too.
If we don’t sincerely want to do the will of God, then we shouldn’t pray for wisdom. That just means we are double-minded. We are like on a teeter-totter going back and forth between what we say we believe and what we honestly believe, truth be told. God will not answer such prayers.
And if we pray about things we already know the answer to, because the answer is already written down for us in the Scriptures, and then we claim that God didn’t answer us, that is a crock (insincere or foolish talk). People who do that are just looking for a way out of doing what they know is right.
James 1:9-11 ESV
“Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.”
Those who are poor in the things of this world but who are rich in faith should be thankful and praise the Lord that they are blessed of God. And those who are rich in the things of this world should have a humble attitude regarding those riches, and they should not be boastful or proud.
The bottom line in all of this is that we are all to be humble before God and that not one of us should think more highly or more lowly of ourselves than what we ought, but we should regard ourselves with sober judgment, which is the judgment of God.
For pride comes in many forms. To think less of oneself as one ought can also be a form of pride, for it still centers on self. For, those who are always putting themselves down in front of others sometimes (or frequently) are doing so just so others will raise them up, and that is still about self.
We, as followers of Jesus Christ, are not to be self-centered, but we are to be God-focused and we are to be concerned about and care about others. Now, this doesn’t mean we don’t take good care of ourselves, for we are the temple of God, so we should take good care of that temple.
But we should not worship ourselves or others or raise ourselves up so that others will see how wonderful we are. But we should be lifting up our Lord Jesus and his gospel message, and his praise should be on our lips, and we should be giving him honor and glory with our lives.
For, we are but flesh, and one day we are all going to die unless our Lord returns first to take us, his followers, to be with him for eternity. And all those who are rich in their own eyes (not necessarily monetarily), and who think they have no need of God, will one day die in their sins without God.
James 1:13-15 ESV
“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”
People who are trapped in sin, who are living in sinful addiction, sometimes (or usually) will blame others for their sinful conditions. And sometimes that means they will blame God, too, even claiming that God didn’t rescue them or that he didn’t tell them what’s right to do, when he did.
They won’t take responsibility for their own sinful conditions, and so they look for others to blame, usually those closest to them, like someone coming home from work and kicking the dog for something the dog didn’t do. They take out their frustrations on the innocent, in other words.
But if we choose to sin against God, that is our own fault. Now, there may be factors involved that may have led us into sin, some of which were beyond our control, but we all have a choice to choose how we will respond to those circumstances, so we are all responsible for our own sins.
It is, therefore, no one else’s fault but our own if we choose to sin. Now God does fault those who lure others into sin, for their own sin, but it is our own fault if we allow ourselves to be lured into sin. Jesus made the way of escape for us out from underneath temptation to sin. We just have to take the way out he provided for us.
And this we must know. Jesus didn’t die on that cross just to forgive us our sins so that we can now continue living in sin without guilt while claiming we believe in Jesus and that his grace covers over all our sin so that we can keep sinning only now without punishment for our sin.
Jesus Christ died on that cross to deliver us from our slavery to sin so that we will now be slaves (servants) of God and of his righteousness. But if we choose to continue living in sin, making sin our practice, we must know that heaven is not guaranteed us. We will die in our sins.
So, don’t be fooled. We are all going to reap what we sow (Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10).
Shine Jesus Shine
By Graham Kendrick
Lord the light of Your love is shining
In the midst of the darkness, shining
Jesus, Light of the world, shine upon us
Set us free by the truth You now bring us
Shine on me
Shine on me
Shine, Jesus, shine
Fill this land with the Father’s glory
Blaze, Spirit, blaze, set our hearts on fire
Flow, river, flow
Flood the nations with grace and mercy
Send forth Your Word, Lord and let there be light…
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