“Don’t expect to receive anything without faith.”
If your joy is dependent upon your circumstances, and you are asking the Lord for help without believing He can help do not expect to receive anything from the Lord. The anything here should not be pressed beyond the context of the passage. It is limited to what is asked for, wisdom. So if a person is going through a trial and prays to God for the wisdom to see things from His perspective, but doubts that God will do anything that person should not expect to receive wisdom. Wisdom in this passage is being able to see God at work even in the trial. Wisdom is having an eternal perspective. And if a person has no real trust in God it is doubtful that no matter what the outcome of a trial that he or she would ever recognize God’s hand at work. Let’s try to follow James’ reasoning here. 1) Trials test our Faith; 2) Testing develops endurance; 3) Let endurance have its perfect result; 4) If you have trouble understanding how trials benefit you then ask God for wisdom; 5) If you don’t ask in faith then you will not receive wisdom. It all goes back to the renewing of our minds. If we will let God change the way we think through trials then we will lack nothing. If we are having difficulty with this then we need to pray for wisdom. But if we do not believe that God is at work for our good in trials then our minds cannot be changed. Remember it is the Spirit of God through the Word of God that grows us closer to the image of Christ. And if we are not willing to get into God’s Word then how will the Spirit change us. And if we do not believe that God is at work for good in our lives even in trials, then how can we ask God to show us the good that He is working for in our trials.
The double-minded man cannot receive the wisdom to see God at work in his trial because he does not truly believe that God is at work in his trial. He is missing it. God wants to do a divine work in your life, but instead you have chosen to let your circumstance steal your joy. You are a double-minded person unstable in all that you do. One moment you will swell up with confidence in your own ability, and the next moment you will sink deep into despair because of your circumstances. This stands in stark contrast with God who gives with singleness of mind, and without reproach.