How do I know what to do?
“5 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. 6 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. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” James 1:5-8 NIV
How do I know what to do? I want to obey God, but sometimes I just don’t know what to do? How do I discern what God wants for me? Whom should I marry? Should I take that new job? Should I continue in the relationship? Should I begin that new ministry or business? What do I do? How do I know? How do I get some wisdom from God?
James, who has a shepherd’s heart, began his letter by telling the early Christians why God allows trials and now he will move into telling them how to get through it.
In James 1, the brother of Jesus is giving different instruction to the Jewish Christians as they seek wisdom through their trials. Since Jesus said in John 8:12, “I am the way, and the truth and the light” James encourages the early believers that if any of them “lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault…” When it comes to giving wisdom, James assures us that God gives generously and without reservation, but when we ask we, “must not doubt., because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”
When we seek God for wisdom, James points out that there are several things we need to know.
1 – God gives generously to all. God isn’t stingy. He isn’t sitting in Heaven hoping I remain confused. God is not intimidated by me or my questions. God is not lacking in wisdom. James reminds me that God is not only a giver, but He is a generous giver to ALL (not some, only the righteous or religious) who seek wisdom from Him. When I need wisdom, James would remind me, God doesn’t hold back. He is for me. He is with me. If I remember from the previous devotions, God wants me to be lacking in nothing. He wants me to grow in my faith. He allows me to endure trials NOT because He is angry at me or because He hates me, but because He loves me so deeply. James encourages me to seek God’s wisdom as I seek His will.
2 – God does not find fault. He could. If anyone could find fault in me, God could. If anyone could find wrongs I have done of failures we have had, God can easily find it. James reminds me that just because I failed before, does not mean that God won’t speak. Just because I have fallen short and disobeyed in the past, does not mean that God has or will abandon me. God knows my weaknesses. He knows my shortcomings. If He wanted to find fault, He could. If He wanted to see my flaws, there is no one who knows them more clearly than Him. Yet James assures us that He doesn’t find fault. He promises to give wisdom because it brings glory to His name. Giving wisdom is God’s part. My part is spelled out in verse 6.
Verse 6 says,“ 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt
This is a tough verse. When I are going through trials, it is easy to doubt God. It is VERY difficult actually, to not doubt Him. It’s hard to believe God’s purposes are for my good when my spouse is ill. It’s hard not to doubt God’s character when my children are rebelling. It’s hard to believe God’s will is for me good when I am stuck in the pit of depression. As difficult as it is, I need to remember that I MUST BELIEVE, that God is still good.
The condition to receiving wisdom from God is that when I ask, I must believe and not doubt.
God’s wisdom is not negotiable. Too often I seek God’s wisdom out of curiosity. I see talking to God in prayer, like talking to our friends. When I talk to my friends, we gather the best ideas then make a decision as to what we would like to do. Seeking God for wisdom means not that we are not to doubt His word. It means rather than being curious about what the thoughts of God are, we should be committed to doing what He tells us to do.
We need to hold on to our hope in God. Don’t be double-minded or unstable in what you do. Though times may be hard, continue to trust God as you pray. “God I know You are good in the middle of my darkest storms. God no matter how hard this is or how much this hurts, I trust that You are working things together for good to those who love You and are called according to Your purposes.”
Holy Spirit there are too many times that I am double-minded and unstable in my ways. I trust You… help me trust You more. I hold a hope in You… help me to hope more. I believe… help me to believe more. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.