February 11, 2021

Empowered by Confident Faith - The Book of James Series

Welcome Back to our Book of James Series!


Hello there, Sweet Readers!

Welcome to the third installment of our Study through the Book of James! If you missed our first couple of posts, you can catch up by reading them HERE!

As I stated last time, my hope for this series is to have interaction in the comment section... I'd love for you to read along and then share your own thoughts, insights, prayers, or questions! 

Let's dig into the Word and help build each other up!

Our verses today are JAMES 1:5-8! Let's read together!

Let's dig in first, reading these verses in The Passion Translation Bible:

"And if anyone longs to be wise, ask God for wisdom and he will give it! He won’t see your lack of wisdom as an opportunity to scold you over your failures but he will overwhelm your failures with his generous grace. Just make sure you ask empowered by confident faith without doubting that you will receive. For the ambivalent person believes one minute and doubts the next. Being undecided makes you become like the rough seas driven and tossed by the wind. You’re up one minute and tossed down the next. When you are half-hearted and wavering it leaves you unstable (restless, disengaged). Can you really expect to receive anything from the Lord when you’re in that condition?" (The Passion Translation)

Now we know if a verse starts with "And" it may be a good idea to go back a verse or two, right?  We did just cover the previous verses, but that was a couple of weeks ago. So verse 4 reads: "And then as your endurance grows even stronger it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking." and then we move on to the "And" in verse five. So as you are walking along this process of missing or lacking nothing, if you find Wisdom is still playing hard to get --simply ask for it! 

Listen... in our Western culture where we put a HIGH value on education, we tend to want the wisdom first.  

We want to know and research and fully understand something ahead of time --not during or after. I mean - we get that it doesn't work that way --but if we're honest, that is where our comfort lies: in knowing ahead of time what will happen or how something works. (But that doesn't sound much like Faith now, does it?)

James reminds us that God gives generously (with an open hand) to those who ask --He does. Absolutely! However, at least in my life, He gives wisdom while we are already making some forward movement along the journey! He often reminds me that He doesn't answer to me... so my 'demanding' to know the full picture before I step out... well, the answers usually tend to come while we are on the journey! 

We must remember we have been grafted in to a family and called in to a relationship... our communication (aka: prayer) should be a two-way conversation... and I suspect Jesus loves to talk and share wisdom as we go along the Way!

Next, let's look at the ever trusted NASB:

"But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.  For that person ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." (New American Standard Bible)

In the Footnotes for verse 8, 'double-minded man' can also be translated 'a chronic doubter'! Ouch! A chronic doubter... I recall early on in my walk with the Lord when He lovingly reprimanded my What If/If Only tendancies.  I seemed to worry about the future, or regret the past --but He reminded me that He is the I Am! He is right here, right now... and He can be trusted!  Fear and Worry and Doubt... those were main characters in my story before Christ... but Praise God --I kicked them out long ago! (They're sneaky - and like to try to tip toe back in unnoticed... but I recognize them in the shadows now and am quick to make them leave!)


Reading in the Amplified Bible often gives a fuller understanding of what was intended in the original language!

 "If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him. Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind. For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord, [For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides]." (Amplified)

Can we just take a moment and give a sigh or relief!  How incredible is it that our God - who is perfect and sinless and righteousness not only doesn't withhold from us, but He gives liberally without reproaching or faultfinding! I mean... this is huge!  Because I can't say for you but I know me: There are definitely some faults to be found, but rest assured, my friend, that is not His focus. When He sees you now, He sees you THROUGH Jesus... (and everyone say, "Amen!")

These verses in the Amplified also remind me of the time that God asked me to give up Hesitation for Lent.  Yeah... that was hard. But it was so freeing and powerful and amazing (and I'd love to tell you I didn't go back, but I did! Still... I know what it's like to not let hesitation or doubts stop me or hold me back!)

Remember how above in The Passion translation is said that He will 'overwhelm your failure with his generous grace.'? Yeah. That.  If we can remember that... then hesitation and fear and doubt wouldn't have such a hold on us!  If we truly grabbed hold of that --that instead of reproach, he overwhelms our failures with grace --well, maybe we would not be so afraid to fail!  


Next, let's read Eugene Petersons' take in The Message Bible:

"If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open." (The Message)

Have you ever "worried your prayers"?  I know I have... it's not that I set out to pray that way --but, like I mentioned earlier, sometimes Worry sneaks in and before you know it - what started out as faith feels like something else entirely! (Something like being wind-whipped and adrift at sea, right?)


Lastly, let's look at The Voice:

"If you don’t have all the wisdom needed for this journey, then all you have to do is ask God for it; and God will grant all that you need. He gives lavishly and never scolds you for asking. The key is that your request be anchored by your single-minded commitment to God. Those who depend only on their own judgment are like those lost on the seas, carried away by any wave or picked up by any wind. Those adrift on their own wisdom shouldn’t assume the Lord will rescue them or bring them anything. The splinter of divided loyalty shatters your compass and leaves you dizzy and confused." (The Voice)

Wow! Have you ever felt dizzy and confused when faced with a decision or a choice that needs to be made? In the Footnotes of The Voice, it says:

"Wisdom, as James understands it, is the ability to live life well and make good decisions. Wisdom doesn’t come from old age or hard knocks. Wisdom begins with knowing and depending absolutely on God, who is never stingy when it comes to wisdom for those who seek it. He supplies all the wisdom we need when we ask. But when we try to go it alone—without God—trouble is around the corner." 

This explanation of Wisdom is so great.  It's the 'ability to live life well and make good decisions.'  Also, the way they clarify that God supplies all the wisdom we need when we ask makes me think of the days of Manna.  Wisdom is given in the moment, for the day... He gives it to us when we ask regarding whatever it is in front of us that makes us know we need it! A challenge or problem, an important decision, discernment or insight.  It may be accumulative... but it's not really meant to be stored up for later use! We're not meant to hoard it away but to put it to immediate use! (Thus - the not hesitating, right?) 

Sidenote: We know that Wisdom and Knowledge aren't the same thing, yes? The main difference between the two is that wisdom involves a lot of perspective and the ability to make good judgments about something, while knowledge is simply a knowing of facts. Anyone can gain knowledge through reading, studying, and memorizing. But wisdom requires more understanding and the ability to determine what is relevant in certain situations. Wisdom takes knowledge and applies it with discernment!

Verse 8 reminds us that when we try to go it alone—without God—trouble is around the corner! Oh my... how often have I tried to go it alone... or simply thought, as my granddaughter says so often, "I got this!"  

Confidence is great and powerful --but let's be sure we are leaning on God Confidence more than self confidence! 


Let's purpose to take Him with us - every day, wherever we go... and when (not if!) something comes up and we find we are lacking in wisdom --let's ask boldly, confident that He who gives liberally and without judgment, will lead and guide us along the way!


Let's close in prayer:

Father God,

We come to you today and first off, we want to say Thank You! We are so grateful for the gift of your Word and for the grace and wisdom that You so freely offer us whenever we ask!
Lord, we thank You that You don't expect us to know what we are doing all the time --You know us better than that! You don't desire for us to fake it and pretend we know... and You don't want us to be in the dark, lacking --anything! We're so thankful that You love to help us!  That --when we cry out for help or wisdom or saving, You are  never condescending or cruel. Remind us to ask boldly, fully believing that You will answer! 

God, I ask that if or when our prayers begin to shift away from faith and towards worry... Lord - let us sense the drift and turn back towards praying with confidence! Jesus, help us to not feel like our prayers are hitting a glass ceiling or are not being heard... help us to not feel like we are being tossed back and forth, up and down, in a chaotic storm at sea. We thank You, Holy Spirit, that You always show up when we pray. You were sent to be our Helper and to teach us all things... and sometimes You calm the storm and sometimes you calm the sea, but every time - You hold us close and show us the way through into the Light! 

We ask, Lord, that we will not give in to the temptation to hesitate, to worry or fear, or to attempt to lean on our own understanding, but instead --we will come to You in faith, believing that You both hear and answer us!

In Jesus' Name! Amen!


We will be back in about two weeks to dig into the next few verses together!

Until then, let's remember to:

* = I was given this lovely book as a pre-release in exchange for my honest review.
The timing of it is not lost on me, as we are digging into James - the New Testament version of Proverbs!
My honest review is anything by Joyce Meyer is going to be powerful and full of the Word.
This was not what I expected - but so practical and helpful! Highly Recommend it!
Enter to win our Giveaway HERE!
(Must Live in the Continental US.)

Lastly, we will be linking each post in this series over on the Series Landing Page. This way if you are coming in late to the game, or simply missed a post for some reason, you can still play catch up by clicking HERE
You can also fill in the Subscribe Here bar at the top and you will be subscribed to a weekly email that will send each post to you there, as well as a monthly newsletter that comes out around the first of each month!

I'd love to hear what stood out to you in the verses today!  Chime in in the Comment Section below and share your thoughts, insights, or prayers!

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