James 1:6-8 reads, “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”
As we have previous noted, the opening matter about which the epistle of James provides pastoral counsel concerns the trials, troubles, and tribulations of our lives. Concerning this matter James delivers a series of four instructions under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit. The first is found in verses 2-3 and speaks concerning our regard and attitude toward the trials of life, saying, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” The second is found in verse 4 and speaks concerning our response of submission in the trials of life, saying, “But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” The third is found in verse 5 and speaks concerning our prayerfulness unto the Lord concerning the trials of life, saying, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
The fourth of these instructions is found in the opening portion of verse 6. It provides an additional requirement in relation to the previous instruction. Therein we are instructed to “ask of God” whenever we lack the true, spiritual wisdom of God for the direction, decisions, and difficulties of our lives. The instruction of verse 6 then adds, “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.” Thus it speaks concerning our trust in the Lord through the trials of life. This truth is then expanded in the remainder of verse 6 through verse 8, wherein a significant warning is given to those who waver with doubt toward the Lord.
Grammatically, verses 6-8 present four individual sentences and may be divided into four individual thoughts concerning the matter. First, there is the complementary prerequisite of the first sentence -- “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.” Second, there is the comparative picture of the second sentence -- “For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” Third, there is the explanatory prohibition of the third sentence -- “For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” Fourth, there is the defining principle of the fourth sentence -- “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”