James 1:6
(6) But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.--Surely this verse alone would redeem the Apostle from the charge of slighting the claims of faith. It is here put in the very forefront of necessity; without it all prayer is useless. And mark the addition--

Nothing wavering.--Or, doubting nothing: reechoing the words of our Saviour to the wondering disciples, as they gazed at the withered fig-tree on the road to Bethany (Matthew 21:21). This "doubting" is the halting between belief and unbelief, with inclination towards the latter. But it may be asked by some one, whence and how is an unhesitating faith to be gained? And the reply to this will solve all similar questions: faith, in its first sense, is the direct gift of God; but it must be tended and used with love and zeal, or its precious faculties will soon be gone. In the hour of some besetting thought of unbelief "the shield of faith" will "quench all the fiery darts of the wicked" (Ephesians 6:16), but that shield must be lifted up, as it were, in an act of faith. "There is no God--at least, to care for me," may be the hopeless cry, responsive to a cruel wound of the enemy. Let the battle-hymn of the Christian make quick answer, "I believe in God;" and often, with that very effort, the assault will cease for awhile. Further, let us take comfort in the thought that intellectual is not moral doubt: the unorthodox are not as the adulterous. Nevertheless, intellectual doubt may spring from an evil habit of carping criticism and self-opinion, for the foundation of which, in so far as a man himself has been either the wilful or the careless cause, he must bear the curse of its results.

For he that wavereth (or, douhteth) is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.--Doubteth is preferable to "wavereth"; there is no play on the Greek words, as in the English text--"wavereth" and "wave." Like storm-beaten sailors, the doubtful are "carried" up to heaven and down again to the deep; their soul melteth away because of the trouble (Psalm 107:26). And who can describe the terror, even of the faithful, in those hours of darkness when the face of the Lord is hidden; when, as with the disciples of old, the ship is in the midst of the sea, tossed with the bitter waves. Nevertheless, the raging wind will clear the heavens soon from clouds, and by the radiance of the peaceful moon we too may behold our Helper near--the Lord Jesus walking on the sea--and if He come into the ship the storm must cease.

Verse 6. - The A.V. "nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea," is unfortunate, as suggesting a play upon the words which has no existence in the original. Render, with R.V., nothing doubting: for he that doubteth is like the surge of the sea. Κλύδων, the surge; ἀνεμιζόμενος and ῤιπιζόμενος both occur here only.

1:1-11 Christianity teaches men to be joyful under troubles: such exercises are sent from God's love; and trials in the way of duty will brighten our graces now, and our crown at last. Let us take care, in times of trial, that patience, and not passion, is set to work in us: whatever is said or done, let patience have the saying and doing of it. When the work of patience is complete, it will furnish all that is necessary for our Christian race and warfare. We should not pray so much for the removal of affliction, as for wisdom to make a right use of it. And who does not want wisdom to guide him under trials, both in regulating his own spirit, and in managing his affairs? Here is something in answer to every discouraging turn of the mind, when we go to God under a sense of our own weakness and folly. If, after all, any should say, This may be the case with some, but I fear I shall not succeed, the promise is, To any that asketh, it shall be given. A mind that has single and prevailing regard to its spiritual and eternal interest, and that keeps steady in its purposes for God, will grow wise by afflictions, will continue fervent in devotion, and rise above trials and oppositions. When our faith and spirits rise and fall with second causes, there will be unsteadiness in our words and actions. This may not always expose men to contempt in the world, but such ways cannot please God. No condition of life is such as to hinder rejoicing in God. Those of low degree may rejoice, if they are exalted to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom of God; and the rich may rejoice in humbling providences, that lead to a humble and lowly disposition of mind. Worldly wealth is a withering thing. Then, let him that is rich rejoice in the grace of God, which makes and keeps him humble; and in the trials and exercises which teach him to seek happiness in and from God, not from perishing enjoyments.But let him ask in faith,.... Not only in the faith of the divine Being that God is; but in the faith of the promises he has made; and in the faith of his power and faithfulness to perform them; and in the faith of this, that whatever is asked, according to the will of God, and is for his glory, and his people's good, shall be given.

Nothing wavering; about the thing asked for, whether it is right or no to ask for it; for that should be settled before it is asked for; nor about the power of God to do it; nor about his will, in things he has declared he will do; nor about his faithfulness to his promises; nor at all questioning but what is proper, suitable, and convenient, will be given in God's own time and way.

For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed; he is troubled, restless, unquiet, and impatient; and he is fickle, inconstant, unstable, and unsettled; and is easily carried away with every wind of doctrine, temptation, and lust.

James 1:5
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