Following Jesus 153

Following Jesus: The Progress of the Pilgrim.

“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.” (James 1:5-8 ESV)

What should be our prayers as we face difficulties? This leads the believer to the discipline of joy. Vs. 5-8.

We begin by seeking God and making our requests to Him. What should we be asking God for as we face various trials? We must ask for wisdom: “Let him ask of God, (see above) who gives…

What is God’s response to the believer in Christ when that person requests God’s wisdom? He will generously give wisdom to that person. Unreservedly. Without bargaining. Indiscriminately (To all).

What is to be the believer’s attitude to be when going to God and asking for wisdom? “But let him ask in faith.” We are commanded to have a consistent dependence, reverential fear, commitment along with trust in God that He will provide you with the wisdom you need to persevere through the trial. James is not referring to saving faith but sustaining faith and trust of the believer in the Savior.

We are not to doubt and think something may not be true or certain. There is to be no doubting. To doubt God’s promise to give wisdom is like a person divided within themselves as to their thinking: about the trial; about themselves; about God.

James describes the one who doubts as being like the wave of the sea. To be like the restless tide for which there is not settling. Blown and tossed by the wind. To be carried and tossed about.

Ephesians 4:14 –15 – “Then we will no longer be infants tossed back and forth by the waves and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, which is Christ.”

The result is that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. He does not submit to God’s control.

James 4:4, 8 says “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Purify your hearts you double-minded.”

“The one who doubts and isn’t solidly committed to Him has the characteristics of an unbeliever or even a weak Christian who is acting like an unbeliever. When faced with a trial an unbeliever who professes to know Christ will doubt God and get angry with Him and eventually sever his association with a church. A true believer who is spiritually immature may respond in a similar manner because he reacts emotionally to his difficult circumstances and doesn’t fully trust God. In the midst of trial he will not experience a joyous attitude. He will seem unable to ask for wisdom from God and unwilling to take advantage of the resources God has provided never knowing the resolution available to him through faithful, persistent prayer to God.” John MacArthur

Talking Points

  • How do you normally view your hills of difficulties? Something to simply get through or endure? Begin today to ask God to develop within you an attitude of joy toward God’s ultimate goal in your trial: patient endurance.
  • Commit James 1:1-4 to memory. Psalm 119:11 encourages us to hide God’s Word in our hearts.
  • One of the results of trials is experiencing God’s comfort. Comfort may occur through God’s Word, prayer and even the encouragement from fellow believers. Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-7.

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