Saturday, May 19, 2007

Believe and Do Not Doubt

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.
(James 1:5-8)

Last night Stephen shared this passage of Scripture with the young adults group. Many times we ask God for things and then wonder why we don't get them (and I'm speaking from experience!). Sometimes we ask with wrong motives; other times our motives may be fine, but we lack the faith to believe that we will receive what we ask for. One argument that I always have with myself is that, "Well, I try to take a realistic view of the world. I know God can do anything, but how do I know that he will do what I'm asking? Sometimes the answer is 'no'." I asked Stephen about this, and he reminded me that our view of reality is not necessarily God's reality:

"Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face." (1 Cor. 13:12)

" 'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the LORD. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts'."
(Isaiah 55:8-9)

Even if the answer is "no", we won't know this unless we ask in the first place - and we definitely won't receive anything if we don't ask at all!

Many times we don't receive what we ask for because we are indecisive and undetermined - as James says, "a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." Pretend you're on the beach right now, standing on the shore with the waves coming in around your feet. They come in...and then they go back out. In again...and back only constant thing about them is that they keep going back to the place they started. Even in violent storms like hurricanes, when there is massive flooding and water comes deep inland, what eventually happens? It goes back out - it never stays in its new place. What good is it if we ask God for something, but later take it back or change our minds? Jesus said the same thing over and over again in the Gospels:

"I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."
(Matt. 21:21-22)

"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." (Mark 11:24)

"And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."
(John 14:13-14)

"If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you." (John 15:7)

"If you remain in me...". First, we need to seek the will of God and then we will ask for things according to his will, not carelessly or selfishly. This is why James says that we should ask for wisdom - if we seek God and simply ask for the wisdom to know his will, and then obey, all the rest will follow.

To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. (Ecclesiastes 2:26)


omalois said...

Good post. Enjoyed it very much.

Seedtime & Harvest Ministries said...

Thanks...well, thanks to Stephen for sharing it with us in the youth group!

Anonymous said...

A good mini-study. Lots to think about.

Seedtime & Harvest Ministries said...

BSS, wish I could take credit for it...but thanks.