Our awesome and loving Father loves to give us good things that will help us and develop us to be more like Jesus. In the previous verses James said to count it all joy when we meet trials of various kinds because our faith would lead to steadfastness. God loves to give us things. He is generous. When we ask, He doesn’t click tongue and tell us we want too much, we shouldn’t ask, or we’re wrong for asking. Verse 5 reads,
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
God gives us wisdom when we ask. We know He is happy to give us wisdom. Solomon could ask The Lord for anything and he asked for wisdom. When he did that The Lord blessed him with great wisdom and much more. (1 Kings 3).
What James says next though has caused a bit of confusion or allowed some people to believe false doctrines. Verse 6 reads,
“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.”
People have allowed this verse to tell them that they had to have no doubt whatsoever when asking God for anything. Some false prophets and false healers use this verse as an excuse for why God will not work through them. They blame the prospective recipient of healing for not having enough faith to be healed. But the person who receives healing is not the one who needs faith. Jesus, John, Peter, and Paul all healed people who had not asked for the healing who were not believers until after their healing and at least one who likely didn’t become a believer even after Jesus had healed him. (John 5:1-17).
So then what does it mean that we can’t have doubt when asking God for wisdom? Consider first what James is telling us to ask for, wisdom if we lack it. Wisdom, counsel and guidance from The Lord requires that we ask without doubt, or hesitation because when we ask for wisdom, we have to be willing to recognize, and listen to God. If we ask for The Lord to guide us or give us wisdom yet we don’t trust that He will give it, we won’t be listening to that counsel. Asking for wisdom from God without trusting He will give it is an empty request. The person asking that way will not hear or follow the counsel God gives, so he may as well be floundering blindly as if they had not asked for guidance. Verses 7-8 read,
“For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
If we’re going to ask The Lord for something that will help us become more like Jesus, shouldn’t trust that He will give it? We are encouraged time and again to ask God for gifts and blessings. He tells us to ask for Spiritual gifts, (1 Corinthians 12:31), provision, (Matthew 6:11), and guidance. (Matthew 6:13). Jesus told us that God loves to gives us good things, all we have to do is ask. Luke 11:9-13 reads,
“And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Not only does God love to give us what we ask for but more than we can even imagine asking for. Solomon asked for wisdom, and God blessed Him with wisdom, wealth, and honor. God loves us more than any earthly father could love us. He loves us persistently and tenaciously. He gives us the good things we ask for, He gives us the needs we do not ask for, and He gives us blessings we didn’t dream of asking for. He wants us to be like Jesus. He wants us to be spiritually strong and faithful. He wants us to live as testimonies to Christ and impact the Kingdom of God. Ephesians 3:14-21 says,
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
Jesus told us there are no limits on what we can ask Him to do, especially when we ask as the Body of Christ. Matthew 18:18-20 says,
“Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
Jesus told us to ask for God’s Kingdom to be revealed and for His will on earth as it is in Heaven! (Matthew 6:10). Consider the greatness of that. Jesus told us to ask. Consider the greatness of this promise in John 14:12-14,
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”
Jesus did amazing things in order to bring people into the Kingdom of God. He healed, He spoke with revolutionary love and wisdom, and He raised people from the dead! As Jesus’ followers, we work in His name and with His authority. Just ask Him in our role of ambassador, evangelist, citizen of Heaven, royal priest, and child of The Living God and it is ours, He will give us what we ask for.
We are promised difficult times, but we are also promised that God is with us, that He will guide us, and give us everything we need to make it through. He will speak if we will listen. He will lead if we will follow. He promises that the troubles we go through will make us more like Jesus. Don’t be afraid to ask your Father for anything. And know that He will give you what you ask for.