<%image(20050521-images.jpg|141|106|waves)%> Just some thoughts I jotted down this afternoon on James 1:1-8 and in particular the process of asking God in faith and how he replies. My title is a bit more provocative than necessary, but if it sucked you in, I hope to deliver the goods below.
Testing of faith is pure joy because it brings about perseverance, but who wants to be put through trials, to have faith tested, and to get perseverance? Faith is not really faith unless it is being used to trust in what is not seen. We don’t want perseverance because we believe that things will eventually shape up, that life can’t be that bad forever.
Perseverance seems to be a key here for James. It is the thing we need in order to progress into Christian maturity, not lacking in anything.
If someone lacks wisdom, ask God. We ask God, but don’t believe that he could be generous in his giving. And yet James says to simply ask God, almost with boldness, for God is generous, giving in such a way that he does not find fault and withhold his gift. To ask for wisdom is a good thing that God desires us to have. He is a generous God who is short on requirements and prerequisites.
The picture I have in my mind for asking in faith is having a fixed goal in mind. Hanging on to that goal will require perseverance, and selecting it in the first place calls upon wisdom. Asking in faith means that I recognize who God is and his ability to follow through when answering a request. Not knowing who God is and what he can do plays havoc with any request that God answers. If I don’t fully trust and believe that he is the generous, all-powerful God revealed in scripture, then I’m set up to miss out in knowing him through the asking and answering process of prayer.
Asking God for something isn’t just about getting things, I think that God really cares about the process. God wants relationship, revealing himself to man. Asking without faith derails the process that God values so highly. The asking isn’t so crucial because I really need my request to go through. The asking is important because it gives God a chance to intervene in my life, to take an active role in his creation and draw me closer to his plan for creation.