“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 1:6-8 (ESV)
If these verses make you want to throw up your hands in surrender, you are not alone. I used to think this meant we could never have any doubt. If we did, we were faith-failures and we might as well forget about getting anything we ask for.
Is God really that unforgiving that an inkling of doubt will bring our faith to nothing? Last year, I read a Bible-in-a-year plan and one thing I learned was that we interpret scripture through the lens of other scripture. And Jesus says if we have the faith of a mustard seed, we can move mountains. A tiny mustard seed.
Breaking these two verses apart, I see something I missed when viewed together.
Verse 6: 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.
The one who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. The wind can blow gently or it can ramp up into a storm. Doubt is like the wind in that way.
When we ask in faith, we need to trust that God hears us and will answer. We may feel the doubtful wind begin to blow but we don’t have to let it gain strength. It isn’t until that doubt grows into a storm that it can cause us to act in a way that takes us off course. That’s when we get tossed around like a boat on a raging sea.
When we feel that first breeze of doubt, we don’t need to give up and say, “Well, that tiny gust of doubt ruined everything. I might as well give up now.” Instead, we need to adjust our sails and trust in our Captain. Trust God with your future, your pain, your doubts and soon that gust of doubt will be nothing more but wind in your sails pushing you toward your destination.
Verses 7-8: “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.”
It is only when we allow doubt to build into a storm that we get driven off course. We become unstable and the only way out is to adjust our heading. Here’s a tip. When you feel the storm brewing, seek the shelter of the One who walks on water. He’s already in the boat with you.
We become unstable when we sit in the storm too long without asking Jesus to calm the storm or calm our nerves. Doubt and distrust begin to create instability in our lives. And this unstable state is dangerous. The last thing we want to do with unstable loads is to haphazardly throw more cargo aboard. First we stabilize, then we can load up.
God doesn’t give us anything when we’re unstable because we can’t handle it. His blessings would sink us. It’s not punishment, it’s grace.
If you’ve ever played Jenga, you know what I mean. As blocks are removed, the tower begins to lean or shake as the foundation becomes unstable. Eventually, the slightest error will cause the tower to crumble.
We’re the same way. When our foundation of faith is strong, we can handle more blocks. But when the foundation is eroded by doubt, each block added to the top makes us more likely to fall. God plays reverse Jenga, He adds blocks of faith to our foundation so we can stand. Or to go back to James’ illustration, faith calms the storms of doubt so we don’t get swamped and thrown off course.
Thankfully, when we do get off course, God’s grace makes a way for us to get back in line with His will. His grace is sufficient for us. He won’t add more blessings until we are ready.
Also, worth noting: It is the storms that make us better sailors. These storms you face may be God’s way of asking you to trust Him a little bit more. He’ll build on that foundation to get you to the next stop on this amazing voyage.
Father, thank you for Your grace and mercy. Help us to grow in our faith and teach us to trust when the winds of doubt begin to blow. Show us how to hold to You when we don’t understand our circumstances. Continue Your good work in us until we become stable vessels for Your blessings. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Spread the spark of hope everywhere you go,
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I want to follow Jesus! How do I get started?
“This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.
1 John 4:13-15
If you are ready to join the family of God, simply believe and ask. You can choose your own words or pray the prayer below. God hears your heart, simply confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and let the Spirit lead you.
“Father, I want to be yours. Forgive me of my sins. I believe that you sent Your Son, Jesus Christ, to die in my place. I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior and thank you for the gift of salvation through Him. I invite the Holy Spirit into my heart and surrender my life to You. In Jesus name, Amen.”
Feel free to spend time just talking to God and sharing your heart with Him. Let Him speak to you and listen as He leads you forward into new life. Welcome to the family.
Need to talk or have questions? Feel free to reach out and contact me.