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. James 1:5-6 (ESV)
Welcome to the verse that started a cult in the Christian movement! In the LDS history, (Mormon) Joseph Smith was historically noted as pondering this verse and in a revelation he wrote that all the churches were wrong and he had to start a movement that was the true church of Jesus Christ.
Before you click away from the page assuming I am a Mormon. I am not! I used to be, (for a very short period of time) however in yesterdays blog article we looked at the dangers of division and division for the wrong reasons. I don’t believe that the churches in the early 19th century were all wrong. I have my denominational differences with many of them but if they are preaching Jesus and people are growing and learning through sound doctrine and solid discipleship, then they are not wrong. They, in my opinion are just doing it a different way.
The previous four verses talk about trials. I personally don’t enjoy trials and I believe that I have not received the full blessings of God because my first reaction to a trial is not ” I rejoice in this trial O LORD” or “What are you trying to teach me LORD” rather than “Get me outta this please LORD” for me the two (wisdom and trials) go hand in hand. If you applied wisdom you may have avoided some of your trials and in some cases you don’t know you needed wisdom until your have trials.
I am not privy to the master plan of God in all areas, but what I do know is that God has us in trials to persevere by faith or maybe God is showing us that something in our life needs to go. This is where this verse comes in. We need to not just have “earthly wisdom” but seek “Godly wisdom”.
This verse has been a great blessing to be and I have it posted on top of my computer at work. When I look at it I see four things:
If any of you lacks wisdom…
I have heard quite a few preachers compare and lump this in with having Godly knowledge. That for me doesn’t sit well and here is why. You can have a dry theology, you can know all of the facts, figures and have the bible road mapped and be factually correct about 100% of the bible, but fail to believe in the holy words of God. It fails to impact your life and it simply is a good book or a great historical document that you have memorized and can quote verses verbatim. That is tragic!
Knowledge and wisdom are really different things; wisdom from God takes a little knowledge and allows for application. God is not interested in holy knowledgeable robots that are not heavenly wise with any application to your own life or others. With wisdom we apply the pieces that God has given us and put them together into our lives.
…let him ask God…
What a source huh? The very same creator that created the heavens and the earth in six days can and will give you what you ask. This doesn’t mean that if you want in your heart a Ferrari or a Mustang that God will automatically give it to you. These are wants that may or may not benefit you in the end. Only God knows what is best for us, he may have you go through poverty to train you up to be a missionary and be a vessel of God in a mighty way.
When I did Sunday School back in Scotland in a local Brethren hall we used to sing the following song:
“HE owns the cattle on a thousand hills,
The wealth in every mine,
He owns the rivers and the rocks and rills,
The Sun and stars that shine,
Wonderful riches more than tongue can tell,
He is my father so their mine as well,
He owns the cattle on a thousand hills
and so I know he cares for me!”
Anything that is in your wildest desire God could (note I say could) supply, but we will see later the requirements of what and when it will be given.
…who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him…
I love the words “without reproach”, I have learned as a father that kids will ask for stuff all the time and in many cases at the wrong times and at the times where my thread is at it’s barest! I am grateful that my heavenly father does not have that. God is a generous loving God who will give and bless beyond what is in our wildest imagination to ask for and thankfully much more than we deserve.
This verse confirms this, that he is so generous that he put in the bible that he doesn’t despise us asking for wisdom, he welcomes it, God desires us to come to him with everything. He encourages us to come to him and he responds open handedly.
It is very God that he puts this in the Bible. This is the beginning and the end of wisdom. In a recent televised creation/evolution debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye, Ken Ham kept bringing the conversation back to the fact that God left this document, called the Bible and it answers many of life’s questions. The bible is a great barometer of whether you are walking in true wisdom or not.
…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…
Here is the fine print, but with an honest open God the fine print is not tucked away in the part of the contract that you never read. (If you always have then you are a better man than me!) God states up front the full picture in the next sentance in the letter. Many folks quote only James 1:5 and you dont get a full picture of what is being said here.
We have to be pure in what we are asking for, we have to come to God with appropriate reverence and fear, we have to come in faith knowing that whatever we ask in Gods will he can provide. We have to be assured in our hearts prior to asking that it can be done if it is in the will of God.
If we are asking in faith, we are demonstrating the kind of heart that God is looking for, we are literally seeking wisdom from the blueprint, the Holy Scriptures, we are demonstrating our belief in the word of God and the belief of its relevance and living power in our lives. (Compare this to the man with dead knowledge?)
If a man is coming to the LORD while doubting, what does that say about his faith? It reminds me of the parable told by our LORD Jesus of the man who built his house upon the sands with no foundation. (Matthew 7:24-27) Will that faith be like the verse here? “Tossed like the wave of the sea”.
A bad example of a man not praying in faith, but praying for personal desire was yours truly. I wasn’t even a Christian or following any organized faith at that time (I occasionally visited a Messianic Jewish place of worship, but even then it was when United were not playing on a Saturday) so I was certainly in the boat of being tossed like the wave of a sea. I was not walking at all with the LORD and my lifestyle was mine and mine alone, my religion was me and Dundee United.
At my new place of worship Tannadice Stadium, Dundee, DD3, Scotland, my team were losing 2-1 to Glasgow Rangers with bout 10 minutes to go, from my personal place of worship in the East Stand seat T34, (Now called Eddie Thompson Stand) I prayed out of desperation for my team to triumph against the team from Govan, Glasgow. Why I prayed I have no idea, I didn’t believe it would work. I had relegated God to a benevolent genie that would grant my every wish that I desired. That is not who God was, is and will ever be.
Can you see a problem with my attitude to God before I became a Christian?
I pray that you (and I also) take the words from this passage to heart, we need to examine our faith and anchor it in on the solid rock. My prayer is that this will help us in our personal and family devotions.
God bless you and TGBTG