6 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. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways (James 1).
The words “doubting” and “doubt” can also be translated “discerning” and “discernment,” which carries the idea of reasoning. Thus, faith and reason do not always go together. Reason supports faith, but it will not always get me there. These verses in James are the fulfillment of Proverbs 3:5—“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” Being “double-minded” is asking God for wisdom while at the same time trying to figure things out on our own—and that is when we become “unstable” and fall.
Wisdom begins in the understanding that we must first ask God for it. Whenever someone approaches me for counsel about a problem they are having, I try with one ear to listen to them and with the other ear to listen to God. That is, I use my reasoning to understand their story, while using my faith in God to receive understanding of their problem. The vast majority of the time God gives me wisdom and discernment to help them, but when He does not (and I remain in the same fog as they), I simply tell them I’m sorry but I’ve got nothing to help them at the moment, and that more prayer is needed. I refuse to throw out empty platitudes and tell them just to “have faith.”
Lord, thank You for the wisdom You give when we ask in faith. Help us This Day to be wise enough to ask for wisdom, believing You will give it when we need it. Amen.