Believing Without Doubting
Who hasn’t been faced with a larger than life situation?
As a Christian, we aren’t free from sickness, trouble and hardship. James writes to the early persecuted church these words…
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”
James brings encouragement to the people. How? By not sugar coating the situation. He knows they are undergoing persecution and he puts it out there so they will know that he knows what they are going through and cares for their circumstances.
James knows that the outcome of most persecution is intense hardship or death — yet he cares for their wounds by saying, “And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Their faith in Christ is being tested by their trials and they are passing the test with a 100% grade. Even though they are making the grade by enduring through trials, there are some areas they can use improvement in, here are a few.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
Faith without Doubt —
“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;”
Double Minded Instability —
“…he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
Asking God for something is the key to these verses. In this case, it’s wisdom. James is telling us that when we ask God we should believe that we will receive.
Many people when they pray, pray with an escape clause for God.
“Lord, please provide for me, but if you don’t, that’s okay also.”
That kind of prayer has a way out for God. We can make an excuse for God not acting on our behalf. We remind ourselves that He is sovereign and remove ourselves from the responsibility of believing without doubting.
Or could it be that we are making a way out for ourselves. We want to avoid disappointment or don’t want to face the fact that we haven’t heard from God. Every situation is different, but James is giving us more than good advice, he is giving us a command — believe without doubting.
“Let him ask in faith, without doubting. If he asks with doubt, then he shouldn’t expect to get anything.” (my paraphrase)
Here is how Eugene Peterson interpreted this passage in The Message:
“If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believing, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all you options open.”
You may be asking God for something that is important to your life. You’ve spent time talking with God and getting clarity on the situation. You’ve talked with others about it and now is the time to ask God and believe that He will do it for you.
These are faith filled opportunities for you to grow in the power of Christ, don’t let it pass you by.