The Main Thing – James 1:5-8

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 has already made it clear that the purpose of trials in the life of a believer is to bring him to maturity. He even goes so far as say that we should rejoice when we face these trials because they are opportunities for us to mature. What this asks of the believer is for us to view all of life from the proper perspective, that is, from God’s perspective. But how can we do this? How can we properly view our trials? We need God’s wisdom.

This brings us to where we are in this section. If you just start with verse 5 it might look like James is talking about some ethereal, vague wisdom. You have probably heard people preach this text in that way. However, upon closer inspection we can see that he intentionally linked this to the preceding section. God’s desire is that we be, “perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James then repeats the word “lacking” when introducing wisdom. It seems that he is setting us up by talking about complete Christian maturity as the goal we are to shoot for and then says for everyone else (those who lack wisdom) there is a remedy. But of course we all lack wisdom. Who lacks wisdom? All of us.

When faced with a trial we need to ask God for the wisdom to know how to navigate it. But more than that, when we ask God for this wisdom we must believe that He will give it. So many of us offer up cheap, meaningless prayers that expose our lack of faith in our loving, caring Father. We must believe and not doubt. We can trust in God because He is the giving God. He gives to all those who ask Him in faith and does not hold anything against us. What a relief this is; God does not hold our past sin and failures against us. Rather, He is ready and waiting to answer our prayers for wisdom, if we would just ask.

When we doubt God we are being “double-minded”. The word that James uses here is unique to him in the New Testament. It literally means with two souls. It shows the divided nature of our heart because we are asking for something without believing. It’s fake. It’s hypocrisy.

So, how do we apply this? Trials and tests are going to come into your life today and you need God’s wisdom to rightly navigate through them. Let us ask God for His wisdom, knowing that He is ready and willing to give it to us. Let us put our faith in Him and in His character. If we do so He will give us the wisdom we need to respond properly, and that trial will then turn into a catalyst for our growth in Christlikeness.