Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation,
There once was a young man who lived under a bridge. This man made poor decisions in life which landed him in his place of humiliation. This man owned nothing except the clothes on his back and the worn out New Testament in his back pocket that his mom gave him on his seventh birthday. Twenty years later many would tell him because of his situation that he should read that book more often. He would simply smile with his few remaining teeth he had and say, “You are probably right.” Some people called him crazy because he always talked about God as if he was some imaginary friend right beside him. The tone in his voice as he spoke of his Friend was usually elevated, seasoned with excitement, as if he was truly joyful deep within, yet aware that his life was full of trials.
There was another man who had a simple home, an affordable car, a respectable low paying job. He read his Bible every night before going to bed, finishing with a simple prayer of thanksgiving to God for all of his blessings. He never really spoke of God during the day unless prodded to do so. This man always seemed to be at peace, never desiring more in life. He appeared to be content with what he had, never longing for the next bigger and better thing.
There was a mom who had a couple young sons. These children drove her crazy. They would not pick up after themselves, always demanded attention, and were a bit much at times. Never the less, she soaked in every memory of them, each one as if it was a gift from God. She didn’t long for them to pursue higher education or to make the big bucks, she simply desired that they grew up to be humble men of God. Every morning as she woke up before the boys, she would thank God for them and then ask for the strength to nurture them in the way they ought to go.
Even to this day the mom continues her prayers for her sons, long after they have left the home, one to live under a bridge, and the other to live in a simple home, knowing that God has answered her and has exalted her and each one of her boys.
he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
The one who asks God for wisdom but doubts that God will give him wisdom is double-minded. Doubting seems like typical human behavior when we have a request. We ask for things in hope that we will receive what we ask for. There are times we are told no, there are times we are told maybe, and there are times we are told yes. Asking the government to relieve you of your tax burden – No. Asking your parents for a loan for a down payment on your first house – Maybe. But asking God for wisdom – Yes.
What are the two minds? Paul says they are the old nature and the new nature. Jesus says we must be born again of water and the Spirit. James is revealing that the born again believer with the mind of Christ and the old self with the depraved mind are at odds with each other causing a person to become unstable. The new self wants to fully trust while the old self thrives off of doubt and fear. The Christian who does not fully trust is unstable in all his ways, never fully knowing what it means to trust as he walks in the will of God.
We should not see God through the eyes of man. The double minded man (Dipsychos in greek) asks God then wonders if God will grant him his request. It seems only natural to wonder, yet James points out for the person who has been tried and tested, he is a person of faith and this faith should always rule his thinking. Therefore when God says, “ask for wisdom and I will give it”, there should be no consideration of doubt, rather we should emulate what Jesus said in Mark 11:24 “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;
According to verse 7, does the one who doubts in verse 6 receive wisdom if he asks for it? To say no is to disprove the premise of verse 6, that God gives generously to those who ask, giving without reproach. Does God give without reproach even to the doubter? The one in the mindset of doubt will say no, the one in the mindset of faith says yes, that God upholds his promises and I believe it.
Turn the coin over. What if this isn’t a God problem. What if the problem in receiving wisdom lies within the fallen nature of man? Now that seems more plausible. God, being perfect, fulfills his promises while man, being flawed and needing to renew his mind, may not see that he has received the promise due to the obscurity he has in the mind as a result of the fallen nature.
We like to blame shift, but on this one, I see a man problem, not a God problem. This is why James says that the doubter should not suppose (think, believe, imagine) that he has received, not just wisdom, but anything from God. This person who is doubting needs a reset of the mind. He needs to stop operating out of two psychosis. This man needs to operate fully from the new self, which is driven by the knowledge of Christ in him.
Therefore when one doubts, one needs to stop thinking all together about the relation between God and his blessings and refocus on the elementary principle of the Gospel, that he needs to repent, i.e. change his mind.