Journeying through James, 1:5-6

But if any of you needs wisdom, you should ask God for it. He is generous to everyone and will give you wisdom without criticizing you. 6 But when you ask God, you must believe and not doubt. Anyone who doubts is like a wave in the sea, blown up and down by the wind.James 1:5‑6 (NCV)

What an amazing promise we have in James 1:5. The key expression is “without criticizing you.” In the Greek text, the word “criticize” means ‘to insult or reproach someone, with the implication that the person is evidently to blame’ * . The word denotes mocking or ridiculing. It’s the type of conduct that some of the people present at Christ’s crucifixion displayed, saying, “‘Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.’ Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him” (Mark 15:32, NIV).

Why is this so important in regards to our faith? Life is full of choices, and if you look at all the choices that you’ve made in your life, you’ve probably made some bad ones. James 1:5 assures us that God gives to us without reminding us of our unworthiness. The verse from Mark, above, is a good example of this. Notice that it says, “Those crucified…” That means that both thieves were hurling insults at Christ, but one of the thieves looked into the eyes Jesus and saw someone who knew his very soul. Jesus responded to his cry for salvation and ignored the stupidity of his conduct. That’s pure grace and it’s really impossible for people to understand, but James is saying it’s essential that we understand this. Why? Because we will doubt God if we don’t. God has every intention of saving us and yet we have to look to Him for help. The benefit is well summed up by Paul in the letter to the Ephesians: “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” (Ephesians 1:17, NIV).

Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. 1996. Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 436). New York: United Bible Societies