For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord.
A friend here in Brazil once told me about a prayer meeting he attended. When the time came to share prayer requests and praises, one man stood up to thank the brethren for praying for the sale of his car.
“God was really with me,” he exulted. “The car was in pretty bad condition, but I managed to pull the wool over the guy’s eyes and get him to pay much more than it was worth.”
Few of us would be so brazen as this man in enlisting divine help for nefarious purposes. Or, at least, few of us would admit it in front of everybody at prayer meeting.
Yet I am afraid that many of us do just that, and on a regular basis. James seems to think so, because he includes this warning in this text.
Remember that, in the previous verses, we have the promise that God will give wisdom to those who ask “in faith, with no doubting”, at which point he gives us a graphic description of the “doubting” man – “like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind”.
Last week, we saw that the “doubting” in question is tied to the expression “in faith”, and refers to an unwillingness to commit to obeying the wisdom of God found in His Word.
Continuing in this theme, James points out how foolish it is to not accept the wisdom of God – or at the very least to leave one’s options open – and then to turn around and ask for God’s blessing.
Here’s a sobering question: How much of our prayer life is actually asking God to give us something we desire in spite of our sinful decisions?
James uses some pretty emphatic language here. We must not expect God to bless our disobedience. Something to think about the next time we come to Him with our laundry-list of requests.
And he’s not done. Next week we’ll take a final look at this double-minded individual.
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