Are you a Doubter? James 1:5-8

Book of James
Book of James | Source

Be Joyful

This is the second in a series of Life Lessons from the Book of James. In the previous hub James 1:1-4 ...( just four verses) the topic was: Be Joyful in the midst of trials. Did it surprise you to find how much can be gleaned from just four verses?

In James 1-4 you will find seven simple steps for Bible Study, which I have utilized for this study.

Meaningful Minutes with Chuck Swindoll

Ask Without Doubting

JAMES 1:5-8

Vs. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

Vs. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

Vs. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord;

Vs. 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

All Scripture is God Breathed
All Scripture is God Breathed | Source

The Who's Considered

James is writing under the inspiration of God. I learned this from II Timothy 3:16-17 "All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work." So, though we know that James is the tool God used; This message is actually from God Himself.

In our last study we learned that this letter, written by James was to the 12 tribes that were scattered abroad. Though this was very long ago ... its application is not dated because God's truth never changes. "For I am the Lord, I do not change." Malachi 3:6

Consider it Pure Joy
Consider it Pure Joy | Source
Do you Lack Wisdom?
Do you Lack Wisdom? | Source
Doubts
Doubts | Source

Paraphrase

To set the stage and to keep our interpretation in context we need to look back at what we studied in the previous verses. In James 1:1-4 We read that trials are an opportunity for Joy. As we begin to examine the next four verses; we know that 'asking God' for wisdom refers back to trials.

I will list one verse at a time and share what I hear from God - putting the verse and all the thoughts they evoke into my own words.

LET'S BEGIN:

Verse 5 "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."

If we lack wisdom about the trial or hardship we are going through .. we need to ask God who is generous and He will give us insight. He wants us to come ... don't be afraid He won't find fault in your request.

Verse 6 "But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind."

The idea of asking encompasses much more than a simple request. When we ask God for wisdom there must be a belief so strong that you have NO doubt that God will answer. James compares doubting to a wave of the sea, The word picture he presents conjures up an image of a wave (with no backbone) being controlled by the wind. The wind is shoving it and tossing it all over the place.

This picture of the wave speaks to me of weakness. It seems the wave has no direction or stability. It is subject to the wind (circumstances.) The winds fall upon the waves with ferocity and it sweeps away any hint of sincerity or belief in the request. When we doubt we ask by rote but we do not really believe God will answer. There is no strength .. no security in this imitation of a true request. Doubting allows the 'wind' or outside influences to control us and dictate our belief.

Verse 7 "That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord;"

Why pray for wisdom if you don't believe God will grant it to you? Make no mistake, the person who asks and then doubts will not receive what he has asked. Do not fool yourself by thinking 'maybe' God will answer. If God is who He says He is .. He cannot lie ... He will answer.

Verse 8 "he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does."

The one who wavers in his belief is unstable with a divided loyalty between God and the world; he cannot expect to receive anything from God. When I think of someone who is double-minded I picture people who are not really sure of what they believe.

The double minded person has one foot in the world and one foot in what he understands to be Christianity. It is the person who goes to Church and for the moment is convinced that God is real and He answers prayers. The next week the wild winds of circumstances throws him a curve. He is battered by the circumstances and sinks into hopelessness. He may ask God to help but he doesn't believe He will answer. .

You either have faith and total trust that the Lord God hears and answers your prayer for wisdom or you don't fully believe that He hears or answers. We cannot have Faith and doubt at the same time .. that is double minded and false faith. The person who doubts is unstable in all of his ways.

Listening to  God
Listening to God | Source

Application

Step 6: Application - What Does it Mean to Me?

James 1:5 "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."

There it is right in front of me, a verse I learned as a teen. This precious verse instructing me to go to God for wisdom. I accepted Christ and I KNOW His word is TRUTH, so why didn't I act on that truth when He made it very clear?

When trials have come my way I have over and over again failed the test of going to God for wisdom. Oh, I eventually get there, by the grace of God, however for the most part it has taken me much too long to ask God for wisdom.

I have thought too much of my own wisdom ... only to find out how dumb I really am. I have networked and resourced to find answers ... only to come up empty and find God waiting for me to ask Him. I have made some serious decisions, thinking my motives were pure, but without asking God for wisdom ... only to suffer grave consequences (God's discipline). "For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child." Hebrews 12:6 These consequences come from my loving Father who patiently leads me to a place I see my own foolishness. I repent and turn to Him ... trusting Him and Him alone to give wisdom.

I have spent too many years thinking ... I can get through this ... I'll figure it out. God has opened my eyes to allow me to see that I have leaned on my own understanding more than I have trusted God. I say this with deep regret yet knowing that I am forgiven and that He is the faithful potter who continually is at work in me, the clay. "Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand." ...Isa. 64:8

A few years back I went through a nightmare of many trials that sapped the strength right out of me. One of the resulting factors was financial devastation. I was looking at the third Christmas that I could not buy gifts for my precious Grandchildren.

One morning the grief hit me like a boulder slamming down on my chest. I cried (literally) out to God for insight and wisdom. Later that day as I was walking at the Mall for exercise; I looked over at a store I used to frequent and with sadness thought "I remember when I used to shop there." Like lightening the Holy Spirit spoke to me saying,... so Susie, you want to go back to Egypt do you? I gasped with recognition of His message regarding my circumstances.

I had asked for wisdom and that very day He answered in an undeniable way. As God's message sunk in I sent up a quick prayer and said, "I've got it Lord, no I do not want to go back to Egypt I will follow you in the desert." The burden lifted and I thanked Him for leading me through my wilderness journey.

Looking back I see the blessing hidden in the trial. There were no gifts under the tree but the whole family buoyed me up by assuring me, "Christmas is NOT about gifts Mom." During those financially bleak years instead of giving gifts we built gingerbread houses, we creatively told the Christmas Story to our captivated grand-kids, we worked with our hands making home-made crafts, the kids worked together (all on their own) to put on a Christmas Pageant .. not one grandchild complained. Those were the BEST Christmas's we ever had and an invaluable lesson was learned by all. It's not about the gifts - It's Jesus birthday and a time to celebrate as a family.

James 1:6 "But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." When I pray and ask God for something, I must have Faith with NO doubts. Time spent in study of God's word builds my Faith. Here is what God says, "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." Romans 10:17 As I read God's word firm conviction of His power and truth are cemented in my heart. Apart from God I am blown around by the circumstances of life ... just like that wave with no conviction or direction.

James 1:7 "That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord;" God says that if I doubt Him and His ability and desire to answer my requests then I am just fooling myself with 'words' said in a prayer. Heart checks and yielding to God's will puts me in a place to trust Him and believe He not only hears but He answers my Faith Prayer.

James 1:8 "He is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does" When my heart is fixed on God, I am single minded Just as Col. 3:1-4 describes: "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory."

I praise God for not giving up on me. I am so thankful for His patience and continual work in my life. I pray I will grow stronger in my faith and that I bring glory to His name.

About John MacArthur

I recommend John MacArthur's Commentaries. John MacArthur is my husbands all time favorite Bible Teacher.

He is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California. MacArthur is also president of The Master’s College and Seminary and the featured teacher with "Grace to You" media ministry.

Grace to You radio, video, audio, print, and website resources reach millions worldwide each day.

John has written dozens of bestselling books over four decades of ministry including The MacArthur Study Bible, The Gospel According to Jesus, The New Testament Commentary series, The Truth War, and The Jesus You Can’t Ignore.

I have featured some of his works on the right. Included is a commentary on the book of James.

John MacArther and his wife, Patricia, have four married children and fifteen grandchildren.

Faith and Action
Faith and Action | Source

What's Your Status - James 1:9-11

What's your Status? Are you Rich or Poor? James is addressing both groups as he explains that Status in this world's eyes means nothing in the light of eternity.

Please join in and share what God is teaching you.

I'd love to hear from you and I can assure you that if you invest yourself in His word you will gain understanding and it will change your life.

I am growing in my Faith

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Comments 28 comments

Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 3 years ago from Michigan Author

Hi my dear sweet Sista' Skye, I am always excited to see you show up on my hubs. I am blessed to know that this hub blessed you in your current circumstance. Doesn't it makes all the hours worth it when someone shows up for a read and then tells you how God used it in their lives?

I can totally relate to your conflict of writing and having time to read others hubs too. Seems when my brain is geared up for writing it can do nothing else.

There are so many gifted writers here on the hubs and I love to read and learn from them ... and you! I need to get over to your shining site for a read and an uplift.

You have a gift dear Sista' as you write from the heart and are led by the spirit to encourage, exhort, instruct, lift up and more ... God uses YOU!

I am so blessed by your life and your heart of devotion for God. Isn't it cool to know that God brought us together through our common love of writing for Jesus.

You are a sweet friend and I treasure you!

Thanks for the encouragement dearone,

Hugs!

Mekenzie


skye2day profile image

skye2day 3 years ago from Rocky Mountains

Mekenzie Sister were you reading my mail? JK I have been meaning to come by for your James study number two. Life has been very busy and making it around all the hubs is time. I know you understand. Anyway Gods timing could not be more perfect. Today was the day I so needed to be reminded of not wavering. God Bless you girl for this wonderful writing. Your words flow like the fresh living waters! I love your writing. You are gifted indeed.

I love the Christmas story that was me for three years as well. God blessed each of those Christmas years in abundance with HIS Blessed love and gifts. He is amazing. Although it was a difficult time the spiritual gifts stay with us where not rust or moth can destroy, Amen.

These words jumped out at me today! The idea of asking encompasses much more than a simple request. When we ask God for wisdom there must be a belief so strong that you have NO doubt that God will answer. James compares doubting to a wave of the sea' I love you sista. Keep preachin it girl. I will be over again. May Gods favor continue to shine in you and on you. May all of your goings be BLESSED in HIS abundance. Hugs to you sista. Skye.

Thank you so much for your writing. I am touched indeed!

Voted, linked out.


Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 3 years ago from Michigan Author

Wow - I love mystery's and I have no clue who you are. BUT I thank you for following along in this study. God does use trials and heartaches to teach us and draw us to Himself - we ALL have a long way to go ... ya know the song ... "He's Still Workin' on me - to make me what I ought to be?" I guess the reason He calls us sheep is because we keep wandering - and we have so far to go but He keeps coming after us.

I agree that the enemy just waits for us to go to the place of despair as he whispers lies into our thoughts. Good thing the one we love and follow is GREATER than the enemy. How patient is our God and His love is Everlasting.

Appreciate your comment and your prayers for Gary and I ... Really really appreciate that!

Hugs!

Mekenzie


boughtonce 3 years ago

Dearest Mekenzie,

Thank you so much for this study. It really means a lot to me. And I have already learned so much from you already! God has used trials and heartaches in my own life to bring me back to Him, as you already know. But I still have a long way to go. I need to be reminded constantly that I need to go to Him and "Lean not unto my own understanding" (Pro. 3:5b). I have realized so vividly that when you are in trials, that satan is working on you so hard. That's another reason we know God is working in and thru us,

Thank you again for this study and I praise God for you and your husband's ministry in my life and will continue to pray for you.


Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 3 years ago from Michigan Author

Hello Comfort, I just noticed I did not respond to your visit and comment. You got lost for a bit but I found you. :) Thanks for stopping by and adding your insight. God's Fullness is revealed when we go to Him for wisdom in the midst of trials.

Blessings,

Mekenzie


Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 3 years ago from Michigan Author

Hey there Stages,

I know that God brought our paths together and I cherish your friendship and your example of Faith. You see life through your Father's eyes and your love for Him and acceptance of the Potter's hand upon you is amazing.

I too look forward to the day when we finally meet face to face - I hope you are ready for a really BIG hug!

That walking in the Mall scenario was life changing. A wake up call. Even if we lost everything on Earth - all that really matters is Jesus unshakable love and His promises to us. As pilgrims we are just passing through this earthplace, it's not our real . When I keep my set on eternity, my perspective changes and peace reigns.

You said, "When we admit our faults as humanistic Christians and our flesh attacks, we are welcoming the lost. By the admission of our own struggles in our walk, we are reaching out a hand to the lost, saying, He loves you no matter what." Profound and true. He loves us no matter what and when we turn to Him we find him waiting with open arms.

Thank you for your beautiful words of encouragement, I thank God for you!

Mekenzie


The Stages Of ME profile image

The Stages Of ME 3 years ago

Mekenzie ~

You never disappoint with your heart for God. Your humility in your expression and learning of Gods word places you into the hearts and minds of others. Our Father in heaven looks upon you and smiles as you share with enthusiasm and joy, His most precious word. There are those we meet on this journey, some are close and we cherish them and some we may never meet and yet we know Christ has placed His children on the same road, the only road, leading to our heavenly home. I look forward to the day when we meet, in the light and Glory of our Messiah. Thank you for your honest interpretation of the book of James. I love your description of your Mall walking scene and that " in earthly terms " bleak Christmas. When we have a CHRISTmas that is of love and family and cherishing everything that is of HIM, this is when we know, he has allowed this for He is God. When we admit our faults as humanistic Christians and our flesh attacks, we are welcoming the lost. By the admission of our own struggles in our walk, we are reaching out a hand to the lost, saying, "He loves you no matter what." We know He will allow trials as you have so beautifully stated here, but we also know, He uses those trials for the chance to get to know Him in a more profound way. For this alone we know as Christians we are blessed in our trials. We know that when broken we are always brought back together by HIM.

Thank you for the beautiful reminders in this piece and Blessing my friend always


Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 3 years ago from Michigan Author

Hi teaches, Yes, James is filled with faith-building words and wisdom for those willing to dig in and apply. It's always nice to have you stop by for a read ... I appreciate YOU!

God Bless,

Mekenzie


Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 3 years ago from Michigan Author

Hi Blossom, so nice to hear from you. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your encouragement. Blessings sister! Mekenzie


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 3 years ago

The book of James is filled with faith-building examples and words that have made me stronger in my walk through life. Your steps are well defined and help to understand how to build a closer relationship with God. Blessings!


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

Thank you for writing this and setting out your method of Bible Study so clearly. God bless you.


Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 3 years ago from Michigan Author

Hey, good to meet you Mr-veg. Thanks for visiting and leaving a nice comment!

Blessings,

Mekenzie


Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 3 years ago from Michigan Author

Hi Debbie, I'm so glad you love the book of James too. It is filled with such wisdom.

Thank you for sharing and I pray that God uses this study to encourage those who think the Bible is hard to understand. Treasures await those who seek.

Have a blessed day friend,

Mekenzie


ComfortB profile image

ComfortB 3 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

Word of the wise. Asking without doubting is really the only way to receive of God's fullness.

Thanks for sharing.


Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 3 years ago from Michigan Author

Hi Eric, I have not broken scripture down and looked at it, as through a microscope, for many years either. I am delighted with what I am learning and the truth is sticking with me.

I find myself thinking about these truths throughout my days. Surely His word is living and has the power to create in us a clean heart.

Let me know how your study goes. Thank you for leaving your thoughts here.

God Bless You!

Mekenzie


mr-veg profile image

mr-veg 3 years ago from Colorado United States

Nice informative hub Mekenzie ! thanks for sharing !


Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 3 years ago from Michigan Author

Hi Lambservant, Thank you for delving in and sharing your insights. Appreciate the New Living Translation you posted on the passage ... I also utilize that translation ... I like how it reads clearly and vividly. I believe we all have seasons in our in our lives when we are distracted, wandering like sheep. If it were not for the Lord's mercy I would still be out there with no clue wandering around trying to figure things out myself. ;)

I'm excited that you also love John MacArthur's teaching methods. He's right on and rightly divides the word of truth. Thanks so much for taking the time to break it down and share your insights.

God Bless you lambservant,

Mekenzie


Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 3 years ago from Brownsville,TX

I love the book of JAMES,, great bible study here and great insights.. this is most awesome.

I am sharing this on prayer request page on Facebook

many blessings to you

Debbie


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

I will give great thought to your methodology. I had not broken it down in many years. I will try this and see if it adds to my understanding.


Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 3 years ago from Michigan Author

Hi Sweet Faith, I love to read your hubs and comments because you shine with genuine Faith and you give Him all the glory.

So true what you say about really believing His word is pure truth .. He surely is NOT a liar. We can rest assured He hears and answers when we trust Him and do not doubt.

This last special Christmas has even more miracles than I shared wrapped up in it. God put it on a man's heart (we hadn't talked to in over 15 years) to send us a Christmas card with a generous gift included. We received that card just after God revealed the purpose of my Wilderness Trek. I had just turned it over to God in complete trust, getting ready for more wilderness when this gift came. I felt God was lavishly raining down gifts from Heaven. One month later this same man sent another generous gift. This time I felt God wanted me to tell this dear man the story of our trial filled years. The man wept as he listened. He thanked me for telling him. He said that God kept laying us on his heart - that we were in need - and so he obeyed. I was humbled, feeling like I surely did NOT deserve it and of course I did not ... it was a gift from my loving Father.

Thanks for your sweet encouragement my friend. May God continue to use you as a light in this very dark world.

Love and Blessings from on High!

Mekenzie


lambservant profile image

lambservant 3 years ago from Pacific Northwest

Right on sister, I love the book of James. I read the passage (1:5-8) in the New Living Translation (not a paraphrase, a good translation,) and here is what it said:

"If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask Him, be sure your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do."

The reason this version speaks to me is that everyone has doubts from time to time. Even John the Baptist had doubts when he sent some of his disciples to Jesus to ask "Are you the one, or should we look for another?" This version defines doubts as being divided between God and the world. In fact, I looked up verse 8 in MacArthur's commentary and he defined "Double-minded" in the greek meaning: the state of having one's soul or mind divided between God and the world. MacArthur goes on to say that "the double minded man is a hypocrite who believes in God periodically but when trials come he fails to place his trust in God, and therefore receives nothing. Loving the world and trying to love God at the same time is impossible."

I can say I have had seasons in my life where that described me. If you had told me I was being a hypocrite or double-minded person I would have argued. But in hinds sight it surely was true. Unfortunately, we, I, have to learn the hard way that Christ and His word are worthy to be trusted.

Looking forward to hearing more in your study of James. I love John MacArthur a lot too. Use his commentaries a lot. Blessings mekenzie.


Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 3 years ago from Michigan Author

Hi Pamela, your comment warms my heart; it makes the time and effort to communicate totally worth it. I'm so glad God used this topic to help you too.

How we need to trust Him ... we cannot please God without trust in Him. Hebrews 11:6 says, without faith it is impossible to please God.

When I have called out for wisdom He has never failed to answer me. Each experience has built my Faith. He will answer you too Pamela because as His child, you are dearly loved.

God Bless you and Grant you His Peace and Wisdom,

Hugs!

Mekenzie


Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 3 years ago from Michigan Author

God Bless you Laurinzo. Thank you for stopping by for a read, it is nice to meet you.

Mekenzie


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

Hi dearest Mekenzie,

What a great application to Bible study on the Book of James. Yes, He opened my eyes too, and I praise Him each and every day. When we believe Him and His word, and I mean really believe what He tells us to be pure truth, and then how can we even doubt one bit His precious promises in His Word, as He surely is not a liar!!!

I know without a doubt that when I pray, I can rest assured that He will answer, whatever is His will and He has done so each and every time. He is so sweet and precious and His love is unending.

Thank you for sharing about that very special Christmas. How lovely dear Mekenzie. I always receive a blessing reading your writings, as I know He has revealed much to you through His active and living Word. What a beautiful gift we have from Him.

Voted up ++++ and sharing.

God bless you dearest sister in Christ. In His Love, Faith Reaper


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States

This is an awesome hub that is an answer to a problem I am dealing with currently. Life problems come and go, but when I look to the Lord for the answer things always work out perfectly. I think I needed to read you hub at this time as it strengthened my faith. God bless you and thank you for those words of beauty.


Laurinzo Scott profile image

Laurinzo Scott 3 years ago from Phoenix, Az.

Thank you for writing this!!!!!

God bless you!


Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 3 years ago from Michigan Author

Whoa, I just published this teacher Joe and here you are with your encouragement. It is my prayer that God will open the eyes of our hearts as we spend time delving into His word ... His word is truth and a lamp that lights up the path to eternal and abundant life.

Thanks for stopping by and may your morning be as peaceful as my evening is. :)

God Bless and Lead You!

Mekenzie


teacherjoe52 profile image

teacherjoe52 3 years ago

Good morning Mekenzie

Very good application.

You must be a great teacher.

May God guide to to enlighten others as He has enlightened you.

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