If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
Looking at the surface of the ocean, we see the waves are never stable. Waves are constantly churning the water over and under, back and forth. As a matter of fact, that’s the very nature of waves as they are propelled along by the current. They are never stable, never keeping the same position, not for a single moment. And that is the very same image James is painting for us in these passages above. James is referring to an unstable and at times indifferent kind of faith. A faith that goes through the motions of prayer, but never really expecting God to hear or answer those prayers. This is a person indifferent to God, indifferent to the Cross and indifferent to Jesus Christ our Lord. This is a person who sees God and Jesus as just one more option to try. One more avenue to explore, but never really giving their lives to Christ. Because they do not truly believe in, nor follow the only begotten Son of God, their lives are ineffective for God’s kingdom. As children of God through our faith in Christ, we can exhibit this same behavior as well. How many times have we said to ourselves, “I am turning this problem over to God?” How many times have we claimed to others that we have, “place our problem at the foot of the Cross.” Then the very next day we try to solve the problem ourselves? We work to resolve the issue using our own power and our own ingenuity.
Despite our proclaimed faith, we act as if we do not believe God will answer our prayer for help. How many of us claim to trust in the Lord, but never turn full control of our lives or problems over to God? Because of our sin nature, we still hold back control for ourselves. James tells us this behavior is like the waves of the sea, tossing to and fro, going back and forth never really committing to God. As Christians, we can still hold back and try many different things humanly speaking, but never turn to God for help. Never turn to God for wisdom, guidance or letting God solve our problems His way and in His timing. James tells us that this is not only acting like the waves of the sea, but James says this is also double minded behavior. This is because when we behave this way we are trying to live with one foot in this world and one foot in God’s kingdom and that is something which cannot be done. James says we are not only double minded when we do this, but we are unstable in all our ways. To put it simply, either we believe our Father in Heaven or we do not. There is no middle ground, we cannot be both in love with a world system opposed to Jesus and the things of God and claim to be part of God’s kingdom. Therefore, we are to decide this day whom we will follow, do we follow the world which is passing away or do we follow Christ Jesus our Lord who gave us eternal life? If we claim to be children of God and joint heirs with Christ, then we belong to Jesus and it’s Him alone whom we follow, Him alone we trust and it’s His timing we wait for not our own.