“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5 ESV)
James is writing to say that as you persevere in trials (James 1:2-4), ask God for the wisdom needed. Wisdom is generally defined as the skillful application of knowledge. What is one of the greatest problems that we face when trials hit us? We know that God may have a purpose but we often have a hard time applying God’s purposes to our situation. That’s where wisdom comes in – to skillfully use the knowledge we have about God in the situations of life, especially trials.
And so James says, “Ask of God.” Wisdom can be ascertained when we prayerfully read God’s Word and His Spirit applies truth to our lives in the context of the trials we are facing. We need wisdom and God can grant it.
If you lack wisdom in a situation you are going through, then ask of God. He gives wisdom to you in your trials and he does so generously and without finding fault. In other words, God is not going to scold you for asking for more of His grace. He is not going to fault you for lacking wisdom in your trials. God loves to pour out his overflowing grace into your life when you most need it. Ask, ask, ask and He will generously give, give, give. And He will not demean you for coming to Him time after time after time.
But God’s generous giving of wisdom comes with a condition:
“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting.” (James 1:6a ESV)
Do not doubt God when you ask Him. We must not waver when we ask God to help us and give us wisdom in trials. We must not lack confidence in prayer. We must simply ask in faith – trusting in our almighty God to give what He promises.
There are three reasons not to doubt God when you ask Him for wisdom:
1. Doubt makes you the victim of circumstances: “For the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6b ESV). Like ocean waves tossed about by the wind, so is someone who doubts God.
Rather than trust in God and be anchored to His Word, a person that doubts is always reacting to the circumstances of life. “This is happening to me so I am going to fret and worry.” “God must not care about me or love me.” If you don’t trust God in prayer, you’ll be like a surfer – going where the wind takes you and heading for a wipeout when the next big wave hits. But if you pray to God with unwavering trust in the midst of your trials, you will be anchored to the rock of Gibraltar during the stormy seas of life.
2. Doubt prevents answers or confidence in prayer: “For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:7 ESV).
God wants us to be confident in Him. But if you doubt, how can you be confident? In fact, if you ask God for help and wisdom in trials but you don’t really believe He will help you, then James says don’t expect answers to your prayers. You want to see your prayers answered? Then have faith in God. Be confident in Him. Wait for Him to answer in His good timing.
3. Doubt creates instability throughout life: “He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8 ESV).
Doubting God leads to a lifestyle then that is always unsure, always hesitating. God is really the only source of stability in a fallen world of chaos. If you don’t trust Him and His will for your life in every circumstance, then your life will be unstable.
Let your faith in God be strong and undivided. Asking without doubting is what God answers with generous giving. So ask God for wisdom and do not doubt that He will give you exactly what you need.