In the last section on James, we looked at asking God for wisdom. This time, we'll be going on with that subject.
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering: for he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
Going on from what James wrote in the previous verse, he writes that the person who asks for wisdom should ask in faith, an unwavering faith, a perfect faith, a faith with no doubts. Here, there are two extremes - faith and no faith. The reason I say this is because when it comes to faith, you can either have complete faith and jump out that window, or you can have no faith and stay in the burning building. Halfway faith is impossible, as is kinda-sorta-maybe leaving the window sill. You can either trust God, and have an unwavering faith, a solid faith; or you can have no faith.
This may sound harsh. I mean, how about when you really, really want to have faith and trust God, but you rely more on yourself because you don't know in your heart if God is trustworthy. I hear you, I know it. I've been there myself. Trying to trust God, but somehow always falling back on trusting yourself. This happens when one has too tight a grip on their own life. When one has such a tight grip, it's hard to let go, it's hard to let go of what you think is solid to grab onto something you know is solid but it's also something you can't see.
It's as if you were trying to do the monkey bars in a thick fog. The bar you've got both hands tightly attached to is about to snap, but you hear from your friend down below, who can see the bars clearly, that the next bar is completely solid. Do you let go of the breaking bar that you have a tight hold on to reach blindly to the solid one? It's the same thing with faith. It's an all or nothing leap.
Of course, it's not quite as black and white as I make it out to be. There are times when you have doubts, there are times when you wonder if God can take care of something as big as your problem. But friend, God is bigger than the biggest problem, the biggest trouble, the biggest trial you will ever face. And He can take care of you a whole lot better than you can! And He will when you just let go and trust Him.
The person who's faith wavers, James writes, is like a wave of the sea. Waves are driven to and fro by the winds. The waves themselves have nothing to do with where they are or where they're going, they just let the winds take them where they like. The person who has wavering faith is like this. They let the troubles and cares of this world batter them and toss them to and fro. This doesn't sound good to me, and it shouldn't to you either. The person who's faith and life get tossed around like this are liable to get into big trouble. They might think that they have faith, but when they see the storms coming, and when the storms are upon them, they lose what little faith they might have had because they think that God has abandoned them.
People with wavering faith, James writes, should not think that they will receive anything from the Lord - wisdom included. A good example of this is the workplace, a good business would not hire someone who came into work only half of time - you can't rely on a person like that. Instead, a good business would hire someone with a good reputation, someone who they can rely on to be there every time they are supposed to be there. Going back to faith and wisdom - why should God grant wisdom to someone who asked for it but didn't really believe that God would give it? Do you think that they would believe that God actually did grant that wisdom and glorify Him, or would they simply glory in their new found wisdom that God had nothing to do with? He that asks for wisdom, or anything else, must believe that God can actually do it. Why ask your Dad for something you know he can't give you? In the same way, why ask God for something you don't believe He can give you?
The person with wavering faith is also called a "doubleminded" person. This literally means that they have a wavering mind, that they are "undecided", they don't know for sure. A person who is "undecided" in their faith is a person who doesn't know whether to trust God or themselves. There is only one kind of person who is like this - the person who has too tight a grip on their own life and who doesn't know God well enough. Once you know who God is, you become willing and eager to let go. And as you grow to know God more and more, you rely more and more on Him. You learn in His word and in your everyday life about His attributes - His love, His justice, His mercy, His grace. Your faith gets strengthened by learning more about what it is based upon.
The last point James makes is in verse 8, he states that not only is a double-minded person unstable in his faith, but he or she is unstable in all things. Faith is the base of your life. What you believe changes how you act, what you do, what you say, and it severely impacts your decisions. What you believe is who you are. A double-minded person is unstable and wavering in everything they do because their foundation is wavering, not solid.
In Christ alone,