Wisdom Part 2
Strong and Courageous
February 15, 2019
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 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; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1:5-8 (esv)
This is a familiar passage when talking about the subject of wisdom. We love verse 5 because we see the generosity of God to grant wisdom on our behalf when we seek him and ask. The tendency is for many to stop at the first verse and skip over the qualifiers that come in verses 6-8.
This is where a personal challenge is proposed. We are called to ask in faith and not be double minded or doubt. The last verse sums up that this person is unstable in all of his or her ways. I can personally remember times of frustration, where I have asked for God’s wisdom and not actually received it. Looking back on these occasions, I have come to realize that I was double minded, even when I believed that I was not doubting God’s ability to grant wisdom to the situation.
There is a deep connection in how we walk by faith and placing our will into submission to Christ. For me, it’s not about doubt at all. It is about being double-minded. This links back to what we talked about last week. Avoiding pain and maximizing pleasure becoming more important than service to Jesus. This is where one can tend to become double minded.
You see, this is not about our intellect, it is much more about our own will. Mark Bertrand, whom I quoted extensively last week says “But the difference between a wise man and a fool does not ultimately come down to his brain activity. Action, and at times restraint, separate the two. Wisdom stems not from the intellect, but from the will. It is mental and physical obedience to God.” If I have a desire to “save my own skin” as an act of will above any other conviction, I am setting myself up to be double-minded.
This is a subtle dilemma that is constantly present in the life of a believer. Am I really surrendering my will to Christ, or am I pretending to do so? How often do we walk in deception in order not to look poorly in the presence of others? I think of Peter in this context, of him denying Christ in order to save himself, then later to finally really get to the point of surrendering his will completely to Jesus. He becomes the rock in fulfilling his calling to extend the Kingdom of God by willful obedience.
Let’s be intentional about seriously surrendering our own will to Jesus. This takes much more than just lip service. It is passionate devotion to him first and foremost in our lives.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Rom.12:1-2 (esv)