James 1:5-8 | Genuine Faith and Wisdom

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If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

~ James 1:5-8, KJV ~

Yes, faith is a choice, and it must be sought after and developed.
Thus, we are responsible for our own faith. We are also responsible for our lack of faith. The choice is yours.

~Richard C. Edgley – October 2010 – Faith – The Choice is Yours ~


In the Midst of the Hurricane

October 2016, Hurricane Matthew struck the Carolina’s with heavy rainfall. This caused severe flooding. What is interesting to note is how a video went viral of a shirtless man holding the American Flag, and standing his ground while rocking out to Slayer. This was picked up by all major news networks and had approximately 11 million views on YouTube. Talk about going viral.

The trials and tempests we face in life brings us into that calm part of the storms when we faithfully seek God

October 2016 – Lane Pittman Head banging to Slayer Raining Blood – Fox News

The courage to stand in a downpour and the coming hurricane for 9 seconds leaves one to wonder: would that be something I’d do? Most likely, most of us will seek shelter and safety in order to wait out the storm. And, as devastating as they are, Hurricanes actually serve a purpose. According to Weather.com, here are five reasons Hurricane’s are beneficial and what purpose they serve:

  1. Bring rainfall to areas that need it
  2. Break up bacteria and Red Tide
  3. Provide a Global Heat Balance
  4. Replenish Barrier Islands
  5. Replenish Inland Plant Life

More importantly, if you were in the eye of the storm you are in the most calm part of the Hurricane. The trials and the tempests we face in life brings us into that calm part of the storms when we faithfully seek God. This is what I have learned over time. In my own personal life – I have faced many storms that have turned my world upside down. And, all I concerned myself with was finding some place to hunker down and let the storm pass. Unfortunately, those were the missed opportunities for me to grow in faith. It takes courage to face our storms. It also takes wisdom and understanding that there is some purpose for those hurricanes in our lives. Yet, we stand in fear and lack wisdom. This is what James is teaching us.

If Ye Lack Wisdom – Let Him Ask of God

Facing the storms in our lives means we develop a meaningful and genuine prayer life. How are we able to come to God and ask Him for something we lack when there is no meaningful relationship? James is speaking to Jewish and Christian believers. The implied understanding is that they are engaged in praying and seeking God. And, it is not merely a simple heartfelt prayer we offer. We listen for His voice. Prayer encourages us to wait upon the Lord in order for our strength to be renewed (see, Isaiah 40:31).

As we come to our Heavenly Father, we are seeking His guiding counsel and wisdom. Let us revisit Proverbs 9:10 where it says:

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding

Fear is the word yirah in Hebrew. It means to stand in awe and reverence of God (see James 1:1-4 | Genuine Faith and Trials). Wisdom is interconnected with knowledge and understanding.

As finite sentient beings, we do not have perfect knowledge and understanding. If we had, we’d not need faith in God. Alma teaches us this important truth:

…Behold, I say unto you … for if a man knoweth a thing he hath no cause to believe, for he knoweth it.

Alma 32:18

Faith teaches us to act in a manner to which we believe God will help us, strengthen us, and give unto us what we need to withstand the storms in our lives. Scripture is firm on the nature of our faith as it relates to God. Christ constantly chastised the disciples – O ye of little faith. Christ commented on the simplest acts of faith – I have not seen such great faith. Faith even may bring healing into our own lives – Thy faith has made thee whole. Each time Christ ministered to those individuals it is because they had sought him out.

Each time Christ ministered to those individuals it is because they sought him out. #Faith, #Wisdom,

Christ teaches us the principle of faith:

And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

Matthew 17:20

The power of our faith comes when we step out of our unbelief. When we step out of our fears and our doubts. When we move closer to our Heavenly Father through prayer. As our faith increases, so also does our strength and wisdom increase. Our knowledge and understanding strengthens and grows.

We are not Called to be Double-minded Christians

It is one thing to lack wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. We deal with this through humility, genuine prayer, and listening to the counsel of our Heavenly Father. It is natural to not fully understand the reason and purpose behind the storms in our lives. However, what is devastatingly harmful to us is when we are double-minded.

A double minded man is unstable in all his ways
~ James 1:8, KJV ~

Christian Post Contributor Dan Delzell writes on the 7 Characteristics of a Double-Minded Believer. He shares these traits as follows:

  1. Two major influences our thought life
  2. History and relationship with our two influences
  3. Compromising ourselves
  4. Occasionally led by the spirit while being led by our other influence
  5. Real peace comes when we walk in obedience to God
  6. Easily prone to falling into old habits
  7. Desire to be drawn to God

Being double-minded means we are operating our lives out of insincerity, living out of hypocrisy, and we waver between having a relationship with God and having a relationship with the cares of this world. It causes an imbalance in our lives. And, rightly so. There is a spiritual reason behind how we are sometimes double-minded. It comes down to the two natures we possess. Our human nature and that of our spiritual nature.

One of the most enigmatic scriptures is that of the Apostle Paul:

For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

Romans 7:15-20, KJV

I know, it is a head scratcher. Confusing. What I do believe Paul is saying is that he desires to do that which is good in the sight of God. However, he has a natural propensity do that which is contrary. This is how our two natures operate. The flesh and the spirit. The challenge is to move us from this double-minded aspect and toward a more single minded person.

John Stange does a good job at providing some wisdom on this; Why do I do What I don’t Want to do? Stange shares how our sinful nature is constantly deceiving us. He also shares how we sometimes are not fully understanding of our own behavior. These two aspects create instability in our lives. Therefore, when we come to God, we come to seek wisdom in how to deal with our lack of understanding of our own behavior and to find wisdom in order to overcome our natural desires and tendencies.

All of this is a process. To move from being double-minded toward a single-minded Christian who grows in faith. It is something that we cultivate over time.

Storms Have a Purpose and Benefit Our Faith in God

There are five reasons the trials we face in life are beneficial. They serve a purpose in how we grow in faith.

  1. Brings a freshness to those areas in our lives where we are experiencing spiritual drought
  2. Breaks up the toxicity of our sinful nature and desires that keep us sick
  3. Provides a balance so that we are not double-minded and unstable
  4. Replenishes our spiritual barriers
  5. Replenish fresh faith in areas where there is loss of growth

When we lack wisdom. When we are of a double-mind. Our faith dwindles with fear and doubt. Instead of facing the storms, we shudder and coward – hoping it passes us by without any damage.

1. Refreshing our life where there is Spiritual Drought

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When it comes to lacking wisdom and being unstable because of a double-mind set has to do with those areas in our lives where we are experiencing a spiritual drought.

Derek J. Brown writes this insight over at Southern Equip:

Spiritual drought, though a persistent and unwelcome visitor, is not something with which we must constantly live. There are biblical means by which we can, by grace, put ourselves in the way of refreshment; we can be restored to once again feel the joy of our salvation. But this can only happen if we are able to discern why we might be experiencing spiritual dryness so we can take the appropriate action.

9 possible reasons for your spiritual drought

His 9 reasons we may experience a spiritual drought in our lives are:

  1. Unchecked Lusts (see 1 Peter 2:11)
  2. Pride (See John 5:27)
  3. Love of Money (see Matthew 6:19-23)
  4. Lack of Scripture reading, prayer, and meditation (See Psalm 1:1-3)
  5. Too Much Time Indoors (See Psalm 19:1)
  6. Lack of Exercise (See 1 Corinthians 6:15-20)
  7. Neglect of Responsibilities
  8. Morbid Introspection
  9. Forgetting the Gospel and living in Legalism

Those storms we experience brings a fresh rain of faith into our lives as it brings us to a place of humility to reveal unto us those areas that are spiritually dry. God wants us to be perfect. This may only occur when we are shaken to our core and see what He sees.

Ask yourself this question: The trials you are facing today – are they the result of some spiritual dryness in your life? Seek God’s wisdom and meditate upon what areas need your focus. Bring those areas to your awareness and develop wisdom and knowledge.

2. Breaks up the Toxicity of our Sinful Nature that Keeps us Sick

LDS S.M.I.L.E – Jesus Forgives the Woman

One of the main reasons we experience storms in our lives is because there is sin. Our natural man is in opposition to the things of God. Scripture is very clear on this. And, many times we have come across where God has used trials to bring people to a place of humility. We see this in the Old Testament with YHWH’s relationship with Israel. In the Book of Mormon, we see this as the people increased in their pride and abandon God for their own selfish and sinful pursuits. These storms we face bring us to a place of brokeness and contrition. We are humbled.

In Alma 32:12-13, we read this:

I say unto you, it is well that ye are cast out of your synagogues, that ye may be humble, and that ye may learn wisdom; for it is necessary that ye should learn wisdom; for it is because that ye are cast out, that ye are despised of your brethren because of your exceeding poverty, that ye are brought to a lowliness of heart; for ye are necessarily brought to be humble. And now, because ye are compelled to be humble blessed are ye; for a man sometimes, if he is compelled to be humble, seeketh repentance; and now surely, whosoever repenteth shall find mercy; and he that findeth mercy and endureth to the end the same shall be saved.

When we are brought to a place of repentance (for it only occurs when we are humble before God) we learn wisdom in God’s divine mercy, grace, and forgiveness. Where we once lack wisdom and understanding, we gain insight and faithfulness that He stands ready to forgive us.

3. Provides a Balance in Our Lives so that we are not Double-Minded

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Unlike breaking us free from our sinful attachments and bringing fresh rains to those areas in our lives that are spiritual dry: Sometimes we face trials because our life is not balanced. What I believe this too mean is that we learn to rely on God and not our own understanding and will power.

Proverbs 3:5 shares this insight: Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

What does it mean to trust in God and not depend on our own understanding? John Upchurch shares these seven insights in how we are to trust in God daily:

  1. Don’t depend on You
  2. Cry out to God
  3. Run from Evil
  4. Put God first
  5. Check yourself by God’s word
  6. Listen to the Holy Spirit
  7. Rest in God’s love

Our Heavenly Father’s grace knows no bounds. He is gracious and patient with us when we are growing and learning. This includes helping us find balance in our lives so that we are able to live a more enriching and spiritually mindful Christian life.

4. Replenish our Spiritual Barriers

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When we discuss spiritual barriers – it is always about how to break down those barriers that inhibit our spiritual growth. However, there are some good things about spiritual barriers we establish through our faith in God. Unlike those spiritual barriers that prevent our spiritual growth, healthy barriers protect us from the fiery darts of the adversary (think of the Armor of God – that is a spiritual barrier). So, what are these spiritual barriers that adversity replenishes?

The Apostle Paul writes to the Christians in Ephesus where he discusses the Whole Armor of God. This armor creates a spiritual barrier between ourselves and the temptations that come from Satan. These spiritual barriers also are replenished when we face those trying and difficult seasons in our life. What are these spiritual barriers?

  1. Truth and Righteousness
  2. Gospel of Peace
  3. Genuine Faith
  4. God’s Word that contains Salvation
  5. Prayer

We may lack understanding and wisdom as we face adversity. However, when we stand with truth and righteousness, understand the Gospel of Peace, exercise real genuine faith, know of a surety of God’s word and how it is the power to save, we pray diligently and stand in the eye of the storm. A place where there is calm and peace. When the difficulty passes. When we withstand the storms. Our understanding of truth and righteousness is replenished. This is how we grow spiritually.

5. Replenishes Areas in our Lives Where Faith Lacks Growth

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The final purpose and benefit adversity serves in our lives is where it concerns the lack of growth in our faith. The Apostle Paul writes:

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith

Romans 1:17, KJV

God’s righteousness is revealed as we grow from faith to faith. As we spiritually mature, we are going to face trying and difficult storms in our lives that help us increase in our faith. Areas in our lives that lack spiritual growth.

Along with this, we also face those times where we feel burned out. The adversity reminds us that God loves us and is not through with molding us into His Image and Likeness. When we reach a point where we feel burned out, God reminds us that we are to (see Billy Graham – 5 Ways to Replenish a Burned-Out Soul):

  • Seek Refuge
  • Remain Calm and still
  • Listen
  • Meditate
  • Be Present focused

These times of difficulties enlighten us to an awareness where we need to grow and find a fresh new perspective on life. We may feel weary, weighted down, and overwhelmed. It is during these times that our Heavenly Father reminds us to slow down, rest, be still, listen, meditate, and focus on what we have in the present moment.

As you meditate on James 1:5-8, think about those times in your life where you lacked wisdom. Times when you faced difficult circumstances and were unstable and of a double-mind. What were times where God has revealed to you that there was spiritual drought in your own life? In what way has God helped you increase your faith and resilience in order to establish a strong spiritual barrier against temptation? What about having your faith replenished where faith was lacking growth?

The hope is that as you and I prayerfully read through and meditate on the words of James, we find greater insight into our Loving Heavenly Father and gain greater wisdom and understanding as to why we experience trials in our lives.

One thing I have come away from this is that I had always thought James was speaking about the difference between faith and doubt. On the contrary, he was speaking on understanding where our lack of wisdom stems from and the reality of how we may sometimes operate out of two conflicting worldviews.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on how this weeks study has impacted and influenced your own spiritual life.

21 thoughts on “James 1:5-8 | Genuine Faith and Wisdom

  1. I love how you inform us of the good things that can come from storms in this life and our spiritual lives as well. It makes it easier to face a storm when we know there is a purpose behind it and good that can come out of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Collene, The more I study scripture (from a mindful and more spiritual approach) I gain greater insight in what it really teaches. I agree. We get lost in our focus on what is being taken away and the losses we may experience. We are not aware of the greater gains and insights we may experience.

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  2. I love how you related the hurricane to our own lives with God. Such helpful information and suggestions here ! And I lOVE that you reminded us of the importance of a real prayer life when you stated this “means we develop a meaningful and genuine prayer life”. Often we forget the power of prayer. So good! Thanks for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What an inspiring way to look at the storms in our lives. They actually have benefits that can be tapped into if we look close enough. Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Kari – Thank you. Meaningful prayer is the foundation of a strong and faithful Christian life. We don’t need to worry about scurrying to the Lord. We already have confidence that when we come to him with our own fears and doubts, he will walk us through the storm and help us learn the lessons we need to grow and strengthen our faith.

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  3. Great job using the hurricane as an example of storms in our lives! You are right, God always has a purpose in those trials, and they are often the time where we grow the most!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a way to connect a hurricane to our walk with God. You’re also so right in reminding us how God works the mot in us during our toughest times. I’ll be following this series closely. Thank you for the encouragement.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Evangeline –

      Thank you and I am enjoying writing these. Helps me keep my focus on God and learn for myself what His word is saying to me and how it may bring inspiration to others struggling in their faith.

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  5. We live here on the coast in Florida and the hurricanes have been so destructive and we have never known any good to come of them except that it draws people together in support. But the thing I’m most thankful for is we know when they are coming our way lol. I grew up in Japan and California where the earthquakes strike without warning. And also we were stationed in Kansas and tornadoes also strike without warning. So I am thankful the storms we get here come with a warning before they strike. Faith, Godly Wisdom, Godly Knoweldge … thank you so much for this post. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Donna –

      I agree. While I have not had the experience of actually being in a place where there were tornadoes. I did experience the Nisqually Quake early in 2000 here in the Pacific Northwest. I was working at a call center in Bellevue, Washington at the time. I also grow up in Shelton and the Olympia area. The whole building shook for a few seconds. A friend of mine at the time lived in Puyallup and he said he had gone outside and the ground looked like a small wave. It struck without warning. Sometimes, there are warnings that we either are heeding or not. Sometimes, these storms seemingly come out of nowhere. Either way, how we respond and seek God determines whether we grow and strengthen in our faith.

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  6. Thought Life can and is destructive, just like a Tornado
    For as a man thinks, so is he
    Just have a modicum of Doubt, and God does not establish us.
    Not that he can establish us. that he leaves the free choice to stand without doubt or doubt
    Isaiah 7:9 where God tells us, if one doubts, then he does not establish us. he lets us go out and be that prodigal Son. That will cone to the end of themselves.
    Then learn new, about what it means to take all thought(s) captive
    To just ask and move forward, and not pray over and over again for the same thing, as if one does doubt to get
    Thanks for the view from above to all of us, learning how to just live by Faith in trust, to Father whether we get it or not
    Romans 8:28

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  7. This is a much needed post. It seems like people have been tip toeing in their Christian walk as of late instead of facing the storms of this day and age head on with prayer and faith. I have faced hurricanes, tornadoes, drought, earthquakes, tsunamis, blizzards, floods, and man-made disasters. We come together in the end and support one another. It is time that we do the same in faith with putting God’s Word first and final. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maryann –

      I agree – and it is unfortunate that many Christians do not have a secure faith. As I stated in my previous post, I discussed my own personal experience with a profession of faith compared to a practical and genuine faith. We also see this in scripture that profession of faith is built on sandy ground. While practical and genuine faith is built on solid and a sure foundation. Thank you for your comment.

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