Summary: This hopefully helps answer the question of how we can find joy in the crises of life.
Last Sunday evening we talked about the trials and temptations that we all go through on our journey through life. What is the worst trial that you face right now? What is the worst temptation, the temptation that just swarms in upon you and overcomes you and leads you into sin?
Is there an escape? Is there a way to overcome that trial or temptation? Last week we talked about facing it all with the spirit of joy because God is making us stronger and more like Christ. But is there a way that can assure victory and deliverance? This is the subject of tonight’s passage in James 1: 5-12. Let’s get right into the passage.
READ verses 5-8. How can a believer conquer these trials and temptations? First, you must ask God for wisdom. Wisdom means a lot more than just knowledge. Knowledge is the grasping of facts, and most people in the world have heads full of facts. People with heads full of knowledge are very common, but when coping with the trials and temptations of life, something more than a head full of facts is needed. Wisdom is needed.
What is wisdom? What does the Bible mean by wisdom? Wisdom is not having a head full of facts. It’s not only seeing and knowing all about life. Wisdom is seeing and knowing what to do with the truth. Wisdom grasps the truths of life. Wisdom not only grasps the facts, it knows what to do with them, and it does it. Now, if we lack that kind of wisdom, then there is one sure way to get the wisdom.
READ verse 5 again. This verse says just ask God for the wisdom. Look at the wonderful promises made to us when we ask God for wisdom. God will give us wisdom. God will give us a generous amount, and abundance of wisdom. God will not reproach or rebuke us for not knowing how to handle the trial. The idea is that God will not even question us for lacking wisdom and for not knowing what to do.
God is our heavenly Father and He loves us and wants to meet our every need. So, God will hear our request—our cry. He will give us the wisdom to conquer the trails and temptations of life. Do you know how many trials a pastor has to face almost daily and how I must continually ask God for wisdom to help mold it all together to keep the peace and harmony within the church family and still be able to glorify Him.
But we have a responsibility. We must do something, and whether or not God hears us depends upon our doing this one thing. If we do it, God hears us and gives us wisdom to conquer the trials. If we don’t do it, God can’t hear us. What is it that we must do? When we ask God to give us wisdom, we must believe and not doubt.
When we pray, for instance, and cry out to God, we can’t doubt; that is, we can’t ask and then wonder if God really exists, or if He is going to hear, or if God can really do what we ask, or if we really know God well enough for Him to hear us. We can’t wonder if the request is the will of God.
Any doubting like that can’t be heard by God. God can’t answer the prayer of a doubting person. If He did, He would be rewarding those who doubt Him. God can’t hear and answer a person who wavers in his faith. We must believe God is, that He exists and that HE does love and care for us and that He will hear and answer us when we ask for wisdom to face the trials of life.
But we have to note what James says about the person who does not believe.
First, the person is just like a wave of the sea driven by the wind and tossed to and fro. Second, the person shall not receive anything of the Lord. Why? Because a person who wavers back and forth doesn’t know the value of God’s gifts.
If God gave the wisdom for a person to conquer the trials and temptations of life, the person might or might not use it or might use it irregularly. He wouldn’t value or use the wisdom or any other gift from God. So, the person who doesn’t believe won’t receive anything from God.
Third, the person who doesn’t believe is a double-minded person, and he is unstable in all he does. He’s like a person with two minds; he’s not sure; he’s uncertain; he feels yes and then he feels no. He believes, then he disbelieves; he acts, then he distrusts and backs up. He’s unstable in his prayer and life with God.