By Pat Higgins
The book of James stresses the trial of a man’s faith and a positive way of maintaining stability. The writer tells us that at times we will be surrounded or encompassed about with trials and temptations, but even then we should regard it a wholly joyful occasion (Jas. 1:2).
How can a man possibly rejoice while undergoing trials and persecution? He can rejoice in that the testing of his faith can prove its genuineness and, therefore, bring about staying power or endurance. Anyone who has come through a period of temptation victorious over trials can rejoice in that accomplishment. More important, upon request, God will grant a man the wisdom to cope with and endure each temporary trial; and he rejoices, knowing that perseverance will be rewarded by the crown of life (1:5, 12).
However, this wisdom is granted only to him who “asks in faith, nothing wavering” (1:6), or “without any doubting” (NAS). One whose faith is “wavering” is an individual who is “divided against one’s-self,” who has “vacillation of mind.” James provides a most vivid picture of such wavering, “For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” Such a wave has no stability and is driven to and fro at the mercy of the wind. A man with internal doubt/ wavering likewise, has no stability or confidence in God to perform that which He promised; therefore, he cannot approach God in prayer with any degree of assurance (1:7). He is tossed to and fro by external pressures, indecisive and unsure of God’s care.
One of two things is true when a man’s faith wavers: (1) He doubts his own ability to cope, and/or (2) He doubts God’s faithfulness and ability to strengthen him. On either count he errs. The Apostle Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil. 4:13). To cope with the trials of daily living with the stability of wisdom, we see two things are required in the aforementioned verse: (1) The confidence of man, and (2) The strengthening faithfulness of God.
A man may say, “I know God will do His part, but I just can’s handle my part.” Is this not doubting God? Because He said if a man lack wisdom to endure divers temptations, he should pray for wisdom and “it shall be given him” (1:2-5). God says a man can handle it, because He will grant him the wisdom to do so. Who would dare to deny the Almighty God the power to do so. He is “. . . able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Eph. 3:20).
Wisdom is simply the practical use of knowledge, and the Lord has promised to give it to those who ask (keep on asking, continually turning to God for guidance) in faith. Should this not be cause for rejoicing?
Do you lack wisdom? Ask of God. . . in faith. . . nothing wavering… and it shall be given.
Truth Magazine XXII: 44, p. 710
November 9, 1978