“But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” (James 1: 6,7)
We have a friend who once came to stay with us for a holiday. We had a good time together, all in all, but he had the distressing habit of not being able to make up his mind about some choice that was before him. Even the most trivial thing (Bus or train? Jacket or jumper?) twisted him up into an agony of indecision. To make matters worse, he would first ask me, and then my wife, and then (if we gave different answers) confront us together about our inconsistency. If I tried to be directive and dictatorial (just to speed things up), he would clam up like a turtle retreating into its shell and refuse to budge at all.
It was frustrating for everyone, but especially him.
I’m just thinking about how I respond to God’s leading. I know that God loves me and has plans for my life. I want to move into those plans and synchronise the direction of my choices with His parental wisdom. And if I need wisdom about that (and I surely do), then I “should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault.” He doesn’t roll His eyes at me for asking, nor criticise the foolishness of my questions.
But one thing is for sure: He certainly wants me to listen and then respond. The reason –the only reason– I might not listen to advice is when I do not fully trust the wisdom of the advice-giver. (Perhaps in retrospect, my friend was wise not to trust me!)
If someone listens to God (by reading the Bible, or through a time of prayer or through the words of a preacher) but puts up an internal resistance to it, or reserves judgement on it, or challenges a basic premise of it, then “That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”
In Hebrews 4:2, the same point is made: “For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.” That’s how I respond to God’s leading: my listening has to be faith-filled. I have to share the faith of those who listen and respond in obedience.
I have to actually get up and do something.
What is that? It is to follow where He leads. Jesus the Shepherd “calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.” (John 10:3)