James 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
In verse 4 we see that those who are saved need to “let” patience have her perfect work. Saints need to choose to endure faithful to the Lord. I spoke with a man yesterday who was complaining about his life. He is a professing Christian, but he is not focused on spiritual things as he should be. He is allowing worldly things to dominate his thinking and it is making him miserable. As I was giving him some Biblical counsel, he stated that this is easier said than done. That is true if a person does not want to let patience have her perfect work. If I want to try to act in the flesh and do my own thing, it will be impossible to rise above the problems of this life. If I choose to let godly conviction dominate and grow in my life as a Christian, I can and I will rise above the problems of this life and I will have joy in my life as we noted yesterday.
It is a mindset that is based on a “heart-set”. My heart needs to be right with the Lord and if that is in place, then I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. James tells us here that we may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. That sounds like Psalm 23:1 and many other passages. If patience, that ability to endure the testing and trials of life successfully, has its perfect work, then the saint will be perfect and entire. The Christian life is lived by faith. It is a living faith. It is a faith that is in the true God. It is a faith that is founded in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The true saint is not lazy. He or she wants to grow and serve God more faithfully. Wanting nothing is in reference to our desires. The true saint that is letting patience do her perfect work, will not just be wishing they could do better, etc. They will actively get involved in doing better. They will seek out God’s direction for their life and then they will step out in faith and do what they already know God wants them to do. If they did not hear God quite right, He will continue to direct them to the place and the work He wants them to fulfil. God is good. He knows how to move His child to be what He wants them to be.
Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
Verse 5 is a rhetorical point. Every person lacks wisdom. In the context, every born again Christian lacks wisdom. It is important to note that. When I realize I lack wisdom, I can ask God to open my understanding to see His wisdom. James tells us we need to choose to ask God for wisdom. We have that word “let” there again. We need to choose to ask God for His wisdom. His wisdom is not hard to find. We see that here in this verse. God does not sit back and try to withhold His wisdom from His child. He does not give His pearls to the swine, but He is ready and willing to give His wisdom to the humble child of God. He does not scold us for not having the wisdom we need. He is graciously willing to give us His wisdom. What a great blessing it is to be able to come to the Creator of heaven and earth and to ask Him for wisdom, being confident that He will give us the wisdom we need.
In verse 6 we see the problem we often have. It is not that God is withholding wisdom from us. It is that we do not ask in faith. We do not trust God to provide that which we need and so we are reluctant to apply His wisdom to our hearts.
Peter asked Jesus to bid him come to Him on the water. Jesus graciously invited Peter to come to Him on the water. Peter stepped out of that ship and walked on the water. However, Peter lacked faith. He looked at the waves and he began to sink. As he was sinking, he knew where to look. Jesus was right there to save him. His problem was that he wavered.
Have you asked God for wisdom? Are you trusting Him or are you looking at the waves and sinking? James tells us that the person who wavers is like the wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.
If you have ever been to a body of water and watched the waves, you know they can make noise. They can stir up the water. They can throw up some mist, but they never go anywhere. They come rolling into shore. They may crash in sometimes. If you stand back a little ways, they cannot get to you. They have much power, but they never go anywhere.
God does not want you and I to be like that wave. He does not want us to make a splash, but never go anywhere for Him. He has laid out very clear instructions, (commands) in His Word. He expects His children to follow His commands. He provides the “how to” in order for His child to be able to keep His commands. If we are going to let the devil fill us with “what ifs”, we will never do what God has commanded us to do. We will never know the blessing of serving God faithfully. We will not have that patience that James wrote about.
In verse 7 James tells us that if we lack faith and waver, we should not expect any thing from the Lord. This is serious talk. The child of God is dependent upon the Lord. It is very unprofitable to sit in one place spinning our wheels. It is very unprofitable having all the ingredients to bake that cake but just let them sit there and dream about the cake. There is no need for the child of God to be empty or wanting. God has a great supply to meet every need of His child. The greatest need is to have that satisfied soul.
Paul stated that godliness with contentment is great gain. We need godliness in order to be content. Our grandson stated recently that he needed a certain toy. As is common today, he has many toys. He stated that those toys are boring and he needed this specific toy. My wife told him we should pack up all those toys and give them away. He thought about that for a moment and decided they were not boring. He could enjoy playing with them.
He is just a child. He needs to come to know the Lord and know His blessings. Right now it is all about things. We are praying that will change for him as a young boy.
In verse 8 we see that a double minded man is unstable in all his ways. If you are wavering between doing what you know you should do and are choosing to doubt God’s Word, you are unstable. Everything you do will be with a sense of hesitancy. You will never be sure of what you should be doing and where you should be. If you will humble yourself and trust God and obey Him, you will find a contentment that your soul longs for but you do not currently have.
Of course this is speaking to the person who is already saved. James was writing to the brethren. He was writing to those who were saved. Salvation is always the starting point. Salvation is a gift of God. It is a one time gift. Once you are saved, you do not need to ask to be saved again. After salvation you need to grow in the Lord. That is what James is talking about.
God directed James to write this short epistle because He knows His children need to be encouraged to grow. They need to be encouraged to trust Him more faithfully and to follow Him more wisely. Go ahead and ask God for wisdom. However, don’t just ask Him for wisdom. Act upon the wisdom He gives you. He is not going to keep giving you options. He is going to tell you what He wants of you. If you refuse to do that, don’t bother asking Him for something else. He has already told you what He wants of you.
We have looked at Moses in the past. God told Moses what He wanted of him. Moses tried to argue and get out of it. God did not have a plan B for Moses. He had a plan A and Moses needed to accept that plan. God also had a plan A for Jonah. Jonah also needed to accept God’s plan and do it.
God has a plan A for you as well. You probably already know the next step He wants you to take in that plan. Are you willing to take that step or are you going to argue with God about His direction?
James tells us that the blessing is in obeying His will. Walk by faith in the true God. He knows everything and He will never lead you astray. He will never throw you to the wolves to be devoured. He is always with His child. Follow Him and be blessed today.