On Sunday evening, Pastor Tony continued his series on the book of James. He covered verses that are confusing to me and gave some suggestions as to his interpretation of them.
In verse 5, we find that God give wisdom bountifully (more than is required) and does not reproach us for asking for wisdom.
When we ask for wisdom, we are told in verse 6 that we must ask in faith without doubting. This is a hard verse to understand. How can a person know if they are asking in 100% faith? Other passages in the gospels talk about someone who doesn't have faith saying I believe help me with my unbelief. Is God making a requirement for us to work up complete faith in this one area alone and if we don't have it then he won't give us anything? It doesn't seem to match up with God's character and how he deals with man to say that a person who asks and doubts a little is an unstable man in ALL he does.
Pastor Tony shared how he has struggled with this passage and doesn't feel that he has it figured out. However he did point out that the would double minded means two minded. It might refer to going partially to God for wisdom and partially to the world. We should be single focused in going only to God for wisdom. He said that there is probably a greater aspect to this then we see.
No matter else the verses mean, we can be encouraged that in the person of Christ there is a great supply of wisdom for us.
Verse 9-11 speak of the rich and the humble brother. Pastor Tony pointed out that the more you get in life the more you are in a sense demoted because God chose those who are poor to be rich in faith. People never seem to think they have enough, but always want just a little bit more. God says that you have more when you have less. You are to boast in your poverty because you are rich in faith and because you have God. Having more will never complete you or make you happy. We should never find our contentment in material things that God gives us bit only in he person of Jesus. God does bless us at times with material things. If he has blessed you, praise him.
Verse 12 speaks of a crown of life that is not salvation but a special reward for those who persevere under the trials of life. It's a crown of victory given because you understood the trial and let God be glorified through it.