Like a Wave of the Sea

Don’t Teeter-Totter
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.”

When we ask the Lord for direction and for wisdom and discernment to know what to do or what to say or what direction to head or what decisions to make, then we better be prepared to do what he shows us. For we can’t ask, and then when he shows us what we asked of him, then decide if we are going to obey it or not. He doesn’t just make suggestions to us.

If we are going to take the approach to ask, and then to wait and see the answer we get before we decide if we are going to follow the counsel of God or not, then that is not asking in faith. That is being double-minded, for in one breath we are inquiring of the Lord as to what we should do but with a “wait and see” attitude before we decide if we will do it or not.

If you think there is a possibility that you are not going to obey, probably because you have a history of asking and then ignoring God’s commands, then don’t bother asking. That is kind of like when Jesus described the Laodicean church as neither hot nor cold but lukewarm, just kind of straddling the fence but not totally on board and not totally not.

Now this could happen to any of us if we are not guarded against it, for we still live in flesh bodies, and we are still tempted to go our own way and to make our own decisions. So, we have to watch out that we don’t fall into this rut. But I find most often that it is those who lack commitment to Christ, usually because they are still living in sin, who are the double-minded.

So, what this is saying here is, well first of all that we can’t claim verse five outside the context of verses 6-8, but also that if we don’t ask in faith, but we end up vacillating back and forth with whether to take the counsel of God or not, then wisdom will not be given to us. We should not suppose that we will receive anything from the Lord, for we are unstable in all our ways.

Don’t Blame God or Anyone Else
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.”

I believe this is yet another picture of being double-minded, although it could be from true ignorance (lack of understanding). But I have seen many people who are still wanting to hold on to their sin, and yet wanting to appear righteous to other people at the same time, who’ll find a way to blame anyone but themselves for the fact that they are still living in sin.

They will blame God, because God is sovereign, or because they see God as living within them, and so if they give in to sin, they will accuse God of not keeping them from the sin or of not protecting them from evil, oftentimes because they interpret Scriptures out of their context, and because they are just looking for someone else to blame.

But God does not tempt us to sin, and he does not lead us into sin, and he does not cause us to sin. So, if we sin, then we sin because we choose to sin, of our own doing, of our own making. For Jesus Christ died on that cross to free us from our slavery to sin and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness so that we would no longer be addicted to sin but now live to God alone.

So, don’t make God your scapegoat when you choose to sin against him, and don’t blame other people, either. Yes, you may have people in your life who will tempt you, and who attempt to lure you into sin, but you don’t have to give in to them. You can say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts if you truly are in Christ, by genuine faith in him, if you will obey the Lord.

Be Honest; Take Responsibility

So, this is the thing here. Jesus Christ died for us on that cross to rescue us from ourselves and from our enslavement to sin. He didn’t just die on that cross to put our sins to death with him so he would forgive us our sins and promise us heaven when we die. That is no hope at all if we are still enslaved to sin, feeling as though we can’t stop sinning deliberately.

There is wonderful freedom available to you in Christ to where you will no longer live under the control of sin and to where you aren’t going to be fighting daily battles against giving in to sin while your flesh is still craving sin and so you eventually give in to the sin. But it means we must yield control of our lives over to Jesus daily and not resist him but obey him.

Freedom from the control of sin over our lives is absolutely possible by God’s grace and in his strength and power when we deny self and daily we die with Christ to sin and we follow him in obedience. It doesn’t mean we will cease to be tempted to sin, for even Jesus was tempted to sin, and he was perfect. But it will no longer have a stronghold on our lives.

So, please know this. If we are going to follow Jesus with our lives we must deny self and die daily to sin and follow him in obedience. We must surrender our lives to Jesus and let him be Lord (owner-master) of our lives. We must not toy with sin and thus give the devil a foothold, for he will defeat us every time. True freedom comes with true surrender.

So, if you have not already done this, give it all up to Jesus today. Turn away from your sinful lifestyles and turn to follow Jesus Christ with your lives. Resist Satan, flee temptation, and draw near to God and be in his word and then be in the practice of obeying him in his power. And you will walk in freedom from the control of sin over your lives, all glory to God.

I’ll Live On

Lyrics and Music by Thomas Laney, 1914

’Tis a sweet and glorious tho’t that comes to me,
Jesus saved my soul from death, and now I’m free,
When my body’s slumb’ring in the cold, cold clay,
There to sleep in Jesus till the judgment day,

When the world’s on fire and darkness veils the sun,
Men will cry and to the rocks and mountains run,
In the glory-land, with Jesus on the throne,
Thru eternal ages singing, home, sweet home,

I’ll live on, yes, I’ll live on.
Thru eternity I’ll live on;
I’ll live on, yes, I’ll live on,
Thru eternity I’ll live on.

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[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10]

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