The Everyday Girl Guide to: James and My Life (James 1:5-8)

June 19, 2013

Time to move on in James 1:5-8

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 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. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

No matter how wise, I don’t know anyone who never lacks wisdom, so this verse isn’t talking to certain people, but to certain circumstances.  I can generally deal with whether I should indulge in a piece of coffee cake or not all on my own.  Occasionally (sometimes frequently), however, there are situations when I just don’t have a clue what I should do. 

My first impulse on occasions like this is to go get advice from friends, family, even strangers.  While there’s nothing wrong with using the earned wisdom of others to help guide your path, James says your first step should be to ask God.  That should be a no-brainer… it rarely is.  It’s like when you’re a teenager and you know your parent will have the right answer… and it’s going to be an answer you don’t want.

I used to be very into avoiding “bad” answers.  Lately, between all the job hunting and the scary-nerve-wracking dating scene of the last few years, I got to where I wanted the bad answers upfront and out of the way.  I finally became proactive about following up on jobs because, let’s face it, when you haven’t had a paycheck in months, you don’t want to wait another month to find out you were never really a candidate in the first place.  In my few “almost going out on a date” opportunities, I shared the less savory aspects of my life (4 kids, not currently financially stable) as soon as there was any clear interest.  I didn’t feel like dating; I wanted someone who liked me in spite of my “not-so-good” qualities. 

I’m trying to be that way about life, too.  Rather than avoiding the answers from God I really don’t want to hear, I just want to get them out of the way.  God still says “wait” sometimes; guess I’m still working on patience.  But more often than not, if I honestly ask for an answer, God gives it to me.  Since God is my Abba/Daddy, it’s not really a surprise to me that He wants to do this; I want to do the same for my own kids.

James does take this a step further, though.  It’s not enough to just ask, you have to believe.  It’s never clarified if you have to believe that you’ll get an answer or if you have to believe in the answer you get, but there is definitely a faith aspect here. 

I’ve done the doubting thing.  First, I doubted that God was going to respond at all, so I tried to make my own decision.  Then, when I got an answer, I doubted that it was truly from God.  It was just my heart/mind/wishes/experience speaking… or just coincidence.

That’s a dangerous way to think and James does a good job of describing what this feels like: a wave of the sea, tossed to and fro by the wind.  First you’ll go one way, then the other, then back again.  Each new bit of information will make you change your mind.

Cut it out!  (Not just you, but me.)  Not only is this stressful, but you are unable to receive an answer from God if you’re not believing in Him for one.  When you get one, you need to just go with it, too, rather than doubting it because you really wanted to hear something else.  This makes you (and your life) extremely unstable.

The biggest compliment Jesus ever gave Simon Peter was when He renamed him “Peter”– “rock”.  Peter went from being a fearful man who changed his tune every few steps (walking on water, denying Jesus three times) to being the rock… a stable foundation for the new Church.

That’s how I want to be: a rock, a firm and stable believer who doesn’t shift back and forth with every new wind or changing bit of information.  I’m definitely not there yet, but God is still working on strengthening me.  One day, I may be a rock of God, too.

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