“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. 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. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” (James 1:5-8)
All too often, as soon as I ask God for wisdom, doubt stands up and begins to cause trouble. Usually, though, it’s doubt in how to live out the wisdom he’s given me rather than doubt in the wisdom itself. On second thought, it’s also often doubt in the wisdom itself, too.
I am a wave of the sea, tossing and turning, controlled by the wind, double-minded and unstable. This is why I lack wisdom, not because God isn’t giving it.
Confident in Wisdom
There are moments, though, where I am confident not only in the wisdom I have received but also that it is from God. If I am not overwhelmed by life and my emotions are kept in check, I stay confident in God’s generous wisdom.
Do I always realize I am doubting? Only when I check those states – my level of overwhelm and emotional stability – regularly through mind renewal. As I regularly renew my mind, confident moments connect to create confident days and seasons.
Living in expectation of receiving wisdom from the Lord requires belief without doubt. It requires cultivating stability through mind renewal that exists as a system, which then impacts my habits. On my own, though, I am unable to maintain this reality.
“Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!’” (Mark 9:23-24)
I need the Lord to help me in my unbelief that I receive wisdom when I ask and that it is from him. This single-minded stability is cultivated through my activities – my choices – as well. When I regularly spend time with God through his word and in prayer and even in nature, the waves stay calm. This increases when I regularly connect with other Christians who encourage me.
A single-minded stability, then, is created through the system of mind renewal that God lays out for us in his word and is supported by the habits that flow out of that. Regular mind renewal leads to disappearing doubt and an increase in the evidence of Godly wisdom in my life.
“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” (James 3:17-18)