“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” (James 1:6).
We have noted that the book of James is not primarily about trials, although it is written to God’s people who are scattered and suffering. It’s not primarily about wisdom, although James is often referred to as the proverbs of the New Testament because of its practicality.
James is primarily about faith, what genuine faith looks like and how it operates in everyday life. We might say that James addresses his readers regarding the existence of their faith and the exercise of their faith. Is it authentic and active? Like the flowering and fruitfulness of a tree demonstrates it is alive, so true faith bears life of beauty and benefit.
James has already broached the subject of faith when he wrote of the “testing” of our faith (1:3). Now he stresses that when we ask God for wisdom that we must ask in faith and with no doubting.
I don’t know about you but that makes me nervous. I have plenty of doubts at times. In fact, trials can bring an infestation of doubt. What does James want us to understand?
To have faith does not mean that we never doubt. It does not mean that we never experience confusion or contradiction. Doubt is a subject for psalmists as they wrestle with life, giving us words to express our own struggles.
Having faith means we don’t straddle the fence. The illustration James gives relates not to insecurity but to instability. All of us are insecure at times and need the reassurance of our God. The problem is being unstable, double-minded, tossed about on the sea by every wind like so much driftwood.
Genuine faith faces down doubt, crying out to God, “I do believe. Help me in my unbelief.”
“Lord, strengthen my faith to rest and trust in You.”