I was having a discussion with someone today. This person, though Christian, had not really discovered the gifts God has bestowed upon her. She understood the gift of salvation… But there is so much more!
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men liberally and without criticism, and it will be given to him.James 1:5 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
God wants us to ask! Here, James is talking about wisdom. Wisdom is a gift from God, and it can be yours. Whatever it is, if you need help in making a wise decision, the first place to go is God.
Here, God promises to lavish us. It’s to all men. This is easily discerned by Jesus’ finished work on the cross. The Apostle John writes to us that Jesus is the propitiation, the appeasement to God, for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:1-2.) Paul speaks of it, too, in 2 Corinthians 5:16-21. He tells us that God in Christ is reconciling the world to Himself. It’s a gift He has given to all of us.
James writes that God gives without criticism. Perhaps that is better understood as without reproach. He isn’t holding things back from us… really. We don’t get it because we don’t ask.
Maybe you don’t believe.
I get that. There were lots of things I didn’t understand. But what I do know, is God will not give us something so that we can finally believe it is real. We have to believe it is real so that we can have it. Believing is seeing. It works like that without salvation. God said it. You believed it. And your account was settled. Praise God!
Let James encourage you…
But let him ask in faith, without wavering. For he who wavers is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed with the wind. Let not that man think that he will receive anything from the Lord. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.James 1:6–8 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
We ask… In faith. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. We must first believe that He is and that He rewards those that seek Him (Hebrews 11:6.) This is how those patriarchs of old obtained a good reputation. It’s the same for you and me.
Believe God. Don’t fret that you aren’t worthy of gifts. Don’t fret that you don’t meet His expectations. He knows these things. His promise still stands. He is the Faithful One. You can trust His Word. The one who asks in faith receives.
Our intentions in asking for gifts from God must be in light of using them to serve Him and others. It’s our calling. We are to esteem others better than ourselves. Their well-being ought to be more important than ours.
James says it this way…
Where do wars and fights among you come from? Do they not come from your lusts that war in your body? You lust and do not have, so you kill. You desire to have and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have, because you do not ask. You ask, and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your passions.James 4:1–3 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
Ask… In faith.
Then set out to serve others knowing your Heavenly Father is Good and keeps His promises.