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  • Writer's pictureDavid and Marilynn Chadwick

A Word from James: Complicated

by Marilynn Chadwick

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt... (James 1:6 NIV)

Following Christ gets complicated when we try to live by the standards of this world: Work hard. Dream big. Solve life's problems with good sense and hard work. Measure your worth by your success.

But James points us to another reality—a different power source. A God who cares. Who answers prayers. Who does for us that which we cannot do for ourselves: “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do” (James 1:6-8).

Ask. Believe. But be sure to resist doubt, cautions James. Easier said than done. Sometimes, living in two worlds can get very complicated. The Greek word translated "ask" also means “to pray.” James knew a thing or two about prayer. His reputation as a man of fervent prayer earned him the nickname "camel knees." The oldest half-brother of Jesus, James was an eyewitness to the resurrection. He became the leader of the believers in Jerusalem. The book of James is thought to be written shortly before he was martyred.

Who better to teach us to stand firm in our faith? To believe and not doubt. To resist the dangers of being double minded. Double-minded, or dipsychos, describes someone who has "two minds." To me, that’s the very definition of complicated!

Let's take a few minutes to reflect on these verses from James in the Amplified Classic version: 

“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]” (James 1:6-8 AMPC).

These verses challenge us to believe when we pray. They warn us about the dangers of doubt. Let’s allow God’s Word to encourage us to go deep. To search our heart for unbelief. To repent of doubt. When it comes to our faith, maybe it's time to stop being so complicated.

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