today’s message at church was amazing and i wanted to share my notes with you!

we’re studying james right now and have been taking little bites off at a time.  this week we studied “living faith – a look at james – james 1:5-8”

5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

in this text you find:

– an invitation to ask -1:5a

– assurance – 1:5b

– qualification – 1:6-8

4 questions that pop from this text

1.  do i ask?

– the answer to this question tells me a lot about what i believe about God and who He is to me.

– asking is an act of vulnerability

-in our world we value self-reliance.  we were not created to be self-reliant.   we were made to daily depend on Him, to rely on Him, to ASK him.

::  God has made us to depend on and need Him.

– do i know i am needy?  do i ask God for anything?  if not, no, i don’t depend on Him.

::  “asking” is acknowledgement of my dependence.

– to ask is to admit my need

::  “asking” is an expression of my trust.

– saying to God, “you can meet my need.  i trust you will.”

::  God, through james, invites to ask.

– He desires for us to express out trust in Him

– i don’t ask enough.  i wonder what i’m missing?

2.  what do i ask for?

::  james invites us to ask for wisdom.

– “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”  psalm 111:10

::  what is wisdom?

– wisdom – more than knowledge.  learning to live in and submit to God’s reality.

– God himself defines reality.

– why is james talking about wisdom?  vs. 1:2 (“consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”)  seeing and experiencing trials in an other-worldly perspective.

::  why do i need wisdom?

– because in my trials i lack the ability to see, live in light of, and submit to God’s reality.

– in our trials, we don’t need relief, but wisdom, perspective.

– from wisdom comes joy, strength, peace, power to endure.

– know that God is real and has a plan.  know these truths.  need wisdom in trials.

– am i wise enough to ask for wisdom?

– He is the only source of wisdom.

3.  why should i ask?

::  james bases the invitation to ask on the character of the God who gives…

a.  God gives to ALL

– who is “all”?  the brethren, christians, those who have placed their trust in the name of Christ.

b.  God gives generously

– “generously” in greek: simply.  graciously, liberally, freely.  just ASK!

c.  God gives without reproach

– without finding fault.  without reminding.  without rebuke.  without lecturing (like we as parents will say “ok i’ll give this to you, but remember what you did last time…”).  without  reminding us of our past failures.

– offered without a hitch, but…

4.  how do i ask?

::  vs. 6-8

::  james says “ask in faith without any doubting.”

– “the one who doubts ought not to expect to receive anything from the Lord”

::  what does that mean?  is that even possible?

– is this realistic?  we have fickle hearts.

– consistent doubts = tension with scripture

– biblical doubters:  john the baptist – matthew 11:1-12, thomas – john 20:24-29, peter – matthew 14:28-33

4 notes to help us understand james…

1.  james is reiterating jesus and hebrews 11:6

6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and thatHe is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”

2.  james put s things in black and white terms to spur his readers on to active “all in” faith in the Lord.

– God gives His truth throughthe personality of different men in the bible.  james is straight forward, so factor in his style.  very different from paul’s style.

3.  God gives to those who don’t ask and is gracious to those who doubt.

– remind yourself of this so you’re not crushed.

– Jesus doesn’t say He won’t give to those who doubt, but not to expect it. (matthew 5:45 – “… for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on therighteous and the unrighteous.”)

4.  when in doubt, take it to Him, ask for help, and look to the gospel.

– what to say when we’re in doubt: mark 9:24, the father of the demon-possessed boy – “24 Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”

– don’t glory in doubt/unbelief, but go to Him, admit it and ask for help.  run to the gospel in doubt.  romans 8:32 gives comfort in doubt – “32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?”


if you get a chance, take some time and listen to the message for yourself.  better yet, start with last week’s message first.  happy sunday!






  1. 1

    I love this! thanks for posting this. it is such a great reminder.

    • 2

      Beautiful post. The hard thing for most pleope I know (including, especially, me) is that the answer comes in God’s time and that we are challenged to be patient. Faith and patience make whole the asking.

  2. 3

    I didn’t know you were a slo-cal! I live right across the street from
    Grace:) went there for the first 10 years or so of my life. My boyfriend and I go to moutainbrook now:) thanks for the great recap though!

  3. 4

    I really enjoyed reading this post thank you.

  4. 5
    Jen Garthe says:

    Thanks for posting this, Lindsey. It has been a rough week here; I’m going to ask God for wisdom to help me through my struggles. Great reminder and encouragement :)

  5. 6

    So good! I love James. Our ladies are working through the Beth Moore study this semester. I wanted to take the class but am doing a Precept study instead, but I hope to pick up James this summer. Been thinking about you and your upcoming trip. My husband went there 2 years ago and did many of the things it sounds like you will be doing. Life-changing trip! Prayers will be with you…

  6. 7

    I was just studying this this week and I started wondering, “why do we have to ask? can’t you just give it, God?” Yeah, well, there’s this whole thing about being dependent on Him. Of course HE knows we are, but there’s something refreshing about coming before HIM and asking for wisdom. It reminds me that I am nothing, and yet HE has given me everything. When I ask. Because HE wants me to be aware of my complete and utter dependence on HIM.

    LOVE it!

  7. 8

    Powerful post, something I really needed to read and hear. Thank you!!

  8. 9

    Wonderful news! Thanks for posting this, I am doing the Beth Moore Study on James right now and although I am only 3 weeks in I am loving James. I am learning that it is important to truly believe that he will provide when I ask. I know a lot of time we haven’t received the answer we want so we ask with a question but James is saying to ask knowing that God will answer us faithfully. And I just need to know that his answer is in my best interest. Again, Thanks so much for sharing this.

  9. 10

    I really love how God won’t “upbraid” us. He doesn’t judge us for sincerely desiring to know. Great post!

  10. 11
    Erin Gross says:

    Thanks for your faithfulness to the Spirit’s prompting and posting this for those of us who needed to read/hear it :) can’t wait to hear about your trip and how God moved in big ways while you were there! Praying for grace to cover everything for you and your sweet family!

  11. 12

    Thank you so much for this post, it has spurred me to study the book of James. You have no idea how much the notes you posted mean to me right now, God has perfect timing as always. The entire time I read your post I kept thinking, wow I would love to hear this sermon, I am so very glad you posted the link at the end, such a wonderful surprise! Thank you for allowing God to use you to help others with this.

  12. 13

    just catching up on your blog this afternoon. always a treat. these notes are so good. needed, perfect timing. thank you. now i’m listening online.

    happy friday!

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