February 22

“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)

It’s the Winter Olympics in South Korea; the bobsled competitions were televised today. I watched as each team of two men took a running start and jumped into their sled. I learned that the pilot in the front steers the vehicle, and the brakeman’s only job is to stay small and low and put on the brakes when they cross the finish line. However, the strength of the men together is crucial to push the sled off to a fast start. One other factor must be taken into consideration, although I didn’t see or hear it mentioned in my casual research–the men must be so united that they act like one, keeping the sled balanced after their joint push off the starting line.

James begins his letter with a strong indicative about the way God uses trials to bring us to maturity, complete, perfect, and lacking nothing. He follows this truth with an imperative: ask for wisdom when you need it, through faithful prayer. Just like the bobsled team that must act as one, our hearts and minds must be united in the truth that God wants to gift us generously, without hesitation or judgment, making his wisdom available to us. In his commentary on James 1:1-11 Matthew Henry wrote, “A mind that has single and prevailing regard to its spiritual and eternal interest, and that keeps steady in its purposes for God, will grow wise by afflictions, will continue fervent in devotion, and rise above trials and oppositions. When our faith and spirits rise and fall with second causes, there will be unsteadiness in our words and actions.”

It is foolish to think that God does not consider our hearts’ desires or our motivations when we pray. He who is omniscient is also jealous for our undivided love (Ezekiel 39:25; Matthew 23:37). Those who doubt Christ’s grace, mercy, love, promises, or faithfulness will not receive anything, because of their inability or unwillingness to live by faith and not by sight. Faith is being certain of God’s promises though invisible (Hebrews 11:1). God is dishonored and discredited by those believers who doubt him, who have been given the light of the gospel.

Where are you on the scale of faithful stability? Are you like a bobsled rocking and shaking because of doubts? Or, are you steadily racing toward the goal, confident in the Christ, the one who is moving your sled?

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