God says perseverance is a sign of maturity. Sometimes that perseverance means to stick it out where we are, and sometimes it means we need to inconvenience ourselves to shift our position. So how do we know what to do in this type of circumstance?
“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” James 1:4. The next verse answers the question on how to know what to do. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” Pray for God’s wisdom and His guidance. He will show you if things are going to settle down soon so you can stay where you are, or if there are some steps you can take to move you where you need to be to get away from those distractions. He knows exactly where you need to be, and when you need to be there; and He is not going to be upset with you for asking Him for directions.
As Christians, we love to quote James 1:5, claiming God promises to give us wisdom. Some of God’s promises are unconditional. In other words, we don’t have to do anything on our end for God to follow through. However, James 1:5 is not one of those promises, and yet it is very rare to hear Christians claiming God promises to give us wisdom with His conditions attached.
Verse six reads, “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”
Raise your hand if that describes you at times. I am raising mine! The condition to receiving the true wisdom of God is to believe and not doubt that God is giving you direction, and follow through with it. Take that step of faith, (or stand your ground in faith if God is telling you to stay put).
I am reading Enjoying Where You Are on the Way to Where You are Going by Joyce Meyers. Here is what she has to say about this scripture. “Double mindedness is confusing, yet decision-making can be simple…indecision and double mindedness not only bring confusion and complication, but, as James noted, they also bring condemnation.”
In other words, we should not believe something in our hearts, and then allow our minds to talk us out of it. Make a decision, and move forward. Don’t get caught in the trap of indecisiveness.
I like how the Philips translation words it. “But he must ask in sincere faith without secret doubts as to whether he really wants God’s help or not. The man who trusts God, but with inward reservations, is like a wave of the sea, carried forward by the wind one moment and driven back the next.” We have to truly want God’s help, and then act on that inner voice of the Holy Spirit, without doubting.
We need to stop living in fear of making the wrong decision, which causes us to be paralyzed and not move forward. That is exactly what James was saying, when he talked about being double minded and unstable.
God is faithful. If you are truly seeking His will, go ahead and take a step of faith in obedience to what you believe you are hearing. If it is the wrong step, He will lovingly change your direction, getting you on the path He has for you.
In the natural, let’s say you have a child who is looking for something, and you know where it is. When he asks you, you will direct him to it. If he misunderstood you, and starts heading in the opposite direction, you wouldn’t just think, “Oh well! Too bad he didn’t hear me,” and let him keep wandering. You would get his attention and make sure he understands, sending him in the right direction.
God is a good and perfect Father. If you want His perfect wisdom, He will give it to you, just for the asking, as long as you are asking in sincere faith without doubting as to whether or not you really want His help, or doubting your ability to receive it.
The results of not believing God will give you the wisdom you are asking for can be found in verse eight. “That sort of man cannot hope to receive anything from God, and the life of a man of divided loyalty will reveal instability at every turn.”
I am sure this is not the result you or I want to have. So let’s believe when we ask God for wisdom and direction, He gives it to us, and will make sure we hear Him clearly. And then let’s be sure we take a step of faith, trusting He will continue to guide us if we take a wrong step. After all, He is not only just a good Father, but a perfect Father!