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James 1:6

James 1:5-8 “5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” — NIV

James 1:5-8 “5 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. 6 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. 7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” — KJV

James 1:5-8 “5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” — ESV

Greek Transliteration of James 1:6 with [Strong #] and brief definitions:
aiteo ask, beg, crave, desire, require de [1161] and, but, now… (conjunction) en [1722] preposition denoting place: such as in, at, of, through… pistis [4102] credence, moral conviction, reliance on Christ, belief, faith, fidelity medeis [3367] none, not, nothing diakrino [1252] withdraw from, oppose, discriminate, contend, discern, doubt, judge, be partial ho [3588] the (article or indefinite pronoun) gar [1063] verily, therefore, yet, no doubt, as, because that diakrino [1252] withdraw from, oppose, discriminate, contend, discern, doubt, judge, be partial eiko [1503] resemble, be like kludon [2830] rush or surge of the sea, raging wave thaddaios [2281] Thaddaeus (one of the Apostles) anemizo [0416] toss or drive with the wind kai [2532] and, also, even, so then, too rhipizo [4494] breeze up, agitate waves, toss

1.6.0 Introduction to James 1:6

Verse 6 adds a critical clause to verse 5 by stating in effect that doubt voids the promise in verse 5. One could think of this as a technicality or loop hole, but the simple fact is that faith in our Lord is required for salvation and our eternal hope, so it only seems reasonable to require faith for anything we seek from our Heavenly Father. James also paints a wonderful picture with words here as he describes the nature of one whose faith is insecure. Verse 6 explores faith and how to makes request of God.

1.6.1 What is faith?

Heb 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

“Faith” — from Dictionary.com:

1.      Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.

2.      Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms at belief. See Synonyms at trust.

3.      Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one’s supporters.

4.      often Faith Christianity. The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God’s will.

5.      The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.

6.      A set of principles or beliefs.

It is pretty obvious from this passage James is instructing us to ask with faith in God. Not ourselves. Not others. Certainly not Satan. We are asking God for wisdom, it is in God we should have our faith. James goes on to proclaim that God doles out wisdom generously and will not be unhappy with such a request, nor will he be picky about who he gives this gift to. One of my personal favorite verses is 1 Thess 5:24, which states “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”

1.6.2 Faith: Sell, Tell, or Do?

Gen 25:29-34 Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom.) Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright. Faith can be sold. I agree it’s not a good idea, though.

Mt 7:21 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Do tell of your faith, but live your convictions else your words will not be heard by man or God.

Heb 11:8-9 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. Faith isn’t to be sold or told. It is to be lived. By living, I mean doing. By doing, I mean acting upon your convictions. To say you believe something (to tell) means nothing if you aren’t living the life of which you speak. Of course the great commission commands us to go forth and spread the good news, but even in the going we are acting in faith. The act of telling is an act, I admit. Even so, the telling presupposes a lifestyle of action, living out the articles of what you believe. Else the telling is just wind rustling the leaves.

1.6.3 Have you asked for wisdom or something else you thought God should honor and not received it? Why Not?

There could be more than one answer. Everyone is unique, and God treats us all as such. These are some answers I found. If you know of others, please add them to the list…

Ps 69:13 But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness. Sometimes it’s a matter of timing.

Ro 8:26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Sometimes God knows our request isn’t what is best for us. This is usually because we are making requests outside his will. It is wonderful that the Spirit knows us better than we know ourselves, and God knows not only our needs, but the needs of others and his own divine plan. Sometimes we are too weak to make the right request - whether weak in knowledge or wisdom or body or spirit or faith. This is not a license, rather it is insurance.

John 4:23-24 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. How we make petitions is as in important as what we petition for. God already knows our hearts and our needs. He awaits our requests in expression of our faith. We need to come humbly, though, and say our prayers with the fullest honesty of our hearts, with an attitude of worship as well as faith.

Mt 21:21 And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. Doubt is the biggest reason prayers go unanswered.

1.6.4 How do we ask?

The passage itself does nicely answering several important aspects of this question. For one thing, don’t be doubting. That’s a sure fire way to miss God’s ear with your request. Faith is critical to receiving wisdom or just about anything else we request. Here are a few other supporting verses…

1 Jo 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. We need confidence in Him (faith again) to be heard, but we also need to be making requests that are in accord with His will.

Jn 15:14-16 You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. In this passage Jesus is revealing to his disciples not only the honor of being able to make requests with expectations of an answer, but the surrounding verses reveal a great deal about our end of the bargain. For one thing, Jesus is telling the disciples that they are more than mere servants, they are also friends. He declares them as friends because they DO what Jesus has requested of them. He also indicates that the divine revelations of knowledge are of God (spoken through the very mouth of Jesus thus far, but later also through the Holy Spirit) are given to them for their friendship. These guys were selected as friends because up to that point they obeyed, the Lord knew he could expect them to continue in obedience, and had specific missions for them to perform in the future. For the purpose of carrying out the missions given by God, God promises to equip them with anything they need to get their jobs done by simply asking.

There’s a lot of meat to this passage from John 15, more than we have time to explore, but consider this example from real life. If you work for an employer, you exchange your time and effort in exchange for pay. You are assigned specific duties. Isn’t it reasonable to expect the boss to give you the things you need to get the job done? Would you be a receptionist and not be given a phone? Sometimes our bosses don’t know what we need to do our jobs, they overlook things, they are trying to penny-pinch, or they just want to see if we can figure out what we need on our own. God isn’t quite like any of those, but He does want us to rely on him because he is true and dependable, he wants a relationship beyond boss-slave. He is faithful to us and only seeks the same courtesy to be returned. He will give us what we ask so that we might be what we were designed to be, the workmanship of his hand to do the good work he has for us (Eph 2:10). We are not saved by works, but we were designed to live out works, performed in love and obedience, fully equipped as sewers of the good seed.

Mt 6: 9-13 Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. The Lord’s Prayer is useful to this discussion for several reasons, but my focus will on the mood. The prayer Jesus uses as an example is gushing with humility. We must realize that if we are making a request, it is because we are asking for something we cannot obtain on our own and we need the Lord. We must indeed be dependent and broken, asking wholly in faith. Why would you pray for something if you could get it or make it or do it yourself?

1.6.5 Why does God answer NO?

I’m first going to summarize a few points about how we get to the point of God having something to answer. First, there’s the asking. Ask something outside of God’s will you generally get a big fat NO. Ask for something out of selfishness, again you will probably get a NO. Ask for something and not believe God will hear you or answer, another likely NO. If you get a yes to any of these, either the answer didn’t come from God, or God has a plan that happened to include what you wanted in spite of you.

Then there’s the tough ones like illness, injury, and “Paul’s thorn.” Sometimes we have very real problems. That’s how we see them, anyway. We may have all the faith to move a mountain and all the patience to ask a million times, but we just don’t recognize how something could be outside God’s will. We pray in faith, we pray in the spirit, and we believe, and still get zilch. Here’s some hope for you…

Isaiah 55:8 says, For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. Our field of vision is limited. We aren’t all knowing. We aren’t all seeing. We aren’t all powerful. These are all good reasons to be asking, but they are also all good reasons to for a NO answer. This leads to the next scripture reference…

2 Cor 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Sometimes God has a higher purpose for what we think of as a problem. We want the problem fixed because we perceive it to be a weakness. In our limited minds we think God could better use us if we weren’t so broken. This very well may not be the case at all. It isn’t up to us how God uses us, it is up to Him. It is still okay to ask, but we should find joy in our trials when he uses those trials for His glory. Our weakness is for His sake, but it is also for ours. We just don’t see it that way. Would we realize our need for God if we were already perfected in this life? As for me, I’m not sure I would say yes.

1 Cor 13:11-12 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. We start our walk with the Lord as children, new creations, born again. Children ask many questions. We do our best to answer them. Children often don’t understand, or at least don’t fully understand the answers we give. Sometimes we give a NO answer to a child to protect them from harm or to protect their innocence. Sometimes we say NO because we have something better we want to give them. Sometimes we say NO because their birthday is coming up and its already been purchased as a present for them. I think God does a lot of things like that, but I also know that just as Paul says here, we can look forward with hope to having full understanding when we are in the Lord’s presence. Another aspect to consider is our spiritual maturity. As we grow, we learn. We learn what to ask and how. Our faith grows. Our love grows. Our discernment grows. Our wisdom grows.

Rev 21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. This to me says that the hard things will be dealt with, though perhaps not in this life. The day will come when every tear will be wiped away. Maybe you find this comforting and maybe you find it frustrating. For me it is a comfort.

As for what you asked for: Some things, like wisdom, are promised without strings (James 1:5), except of course for asking in faith. What draws us toward God is pretty much a given. What distracts us from God is not.

1.6.6 How much faith is required in order to receive?

– Mt 17:20 “Because you have so little faith, I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed you can say to the mountain move here to there and it will be moved. Nothing will be impossible for you.” To put this in context, the disciples asked Jesus why they were unable to drive out a demon. This was Jesus’ reply. If it only takes the faith of a mustard seed to drive out a demon, it seems unlikely the Lord would require any greater faith to answer a prayer for something he wants to give you, like wisdom.

In the dialog between Jesus and the woman at the well in Jn 4, Jesus speaks of worshipping in spirit and truth (v. 23-24). Ro 8:26 speaks of how the spirit intercedes with groanings too deep for words. I bring these items up because the overall context of this paragraph from James has to do with the central concept of making a request to the Lord for wisdom. Communication with God can take many forms, but to me it is all prayer. To come with a right attitude, humbly, to acknowledge the sovereignty of God (Lk 11:1), is the essence of worship. When we make requests, to be “in spirit and truth” they are by definition within the will of God. Even they the Lord may not answer as quickly as we like or exactly in the manner we would like, but still he will provide for us what is best for the Kingdom.

1.6.7 What is doubt?

Based on the combined definitions of the English word doubt from the dictionary and the Greek word translated doubt or wavering, in layman’s terms I would say doubt is an active skepticism, an unbelief in something that would prevent trusting or taking action based on what is doubted.

From the dictionary:

(Verb form) 1. To be undecided or skeptical about: began to doubt some accepted doctrines.

2. To tend to disbelieve; distrust: doubts politicians when they make sweeping statements.

3. To regard as unlikely: I doubt that we’ll arrive on time.

Archaic. To suspect; fear.

4. To be undecided or skeptical.

(Noun Form) 1. A lack of certainty that often leads to irresolution. See Synonyms at uncertainty

2. A lack of trust.

3. A point about which one is uncertain or skeptical: reassured me by answering my doubts.

4. The condition of being unsettled or unresolved: an outcome still in doubt.

No Doubt: Certainty, Probably.

From a Greek lexicon:

Greek transliteration - Diakrino

NT Usage - 18 times - doubt 5, judge 3, discern 2, contend 2, waver 2, miscellaneous 5

Definition

1. to separate, make a distinction, discriminate, to prefer

2. to learn by discrimination, to try, decide

3. to determine, give judgment, decide a dispute

4. to withdraw from one, desert

5. to separate one’s self in a hostile spirit, to oppose, strive with dispute, contend

6. to be at variance with one’s self, hesitate, doubt

1.6.8 Why is doubt such a poison to our prayers?

Ro 14:23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. The second sentence here is the focus. We know the law stands. We know that Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the law on our behalf. We know that while works are important and have their place, it is grace alone which saves because our works cannot perfect us. While Paul was speaking of food in the first sentence, the second sentence here seems to stand on its own and would also seem to apply universally.

I bring up this verse from Paul because faith appears to me to be in almost every sense the opposite of faith. Just as faith leads to good works, doubt leads to bad works. James does an excellent job of presenting contrasts throughout the first chapter of his letter. We will see many more examples as we go.

How faith and doubt are similar: Just like faith, doubt in and of itself is an intangible. It is like a psychological seed. What we think, we do. What we believe, we act upon. Also, both faith and doubt are related to how we respond to information presented to our various senses. For example, if you read a newspaper, we can believe or doubt the weather forecast. The information was presented, we read it, and we elect our response. Faith and doubt are both decisions.

How faith and doubt differ: The difference is our response to information. The actions of the response are the outer works resulting from our inner decision. Faith is the seed which grows into works based on an affirmative hope in the good news of Jesus. The seed of doubt grows into active denial of the Lord and His grace.

Doubt poisons because: Faith and doubt cannot both hold our attention at the same time. Ro 14:23b (For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin) indicates the obvious. Faith and doubt are mutually exclusive. Since faith is the requirement for salvation, if doubt crowds out faith there’s no salvation.

1.6.9 Why do people doubt Jesus? (Are you one of them?)

– Jn 20:24-25 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

Based on the definition given earlier and the various things scripture has to say about doubt, I would say that the reason for doubting the good news of Jesus Christ can be summed up as refusal to accept the information as fact and trust it to be accurate. The real question then is, why is the information (gospel message) not trusted?

1 Thess 5:24 but test everything; hold fast what is good. The information comes from an unknown or dubious source. There is nothing wrong with taking steps to verify the accuracy of a message. Be sure God is speaking. If you find it is in fact God speaking, then you have no excuse for not obeying. If you find it to be a false source, then you need to use your armor.

Jn 8:14 Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. Not enough information. At some point things have to be taken on faith. That said, if you simply don’t have enough information, how can you make a good decision? The modern church is riddled with “easy believism” theology. Many flocks are not being fed with the nutrients needed to grow strong and stand firm. If the gospel were presented in its complete and raw form, some would find Christ who were not convinced by the simple messages while some of the simple message lovers would be shown for who they are.

Lk 22:60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. Fear. It is natural to fear the unknown. Throughout scripture we are chastened to fear the Lord. That isn’t quite the same as fearing a snake or a spider. Fearing God is like fearing your father’s belt — it is more like respect. In this case, Peter was afraid for his life. He forgot the promises of Jesus and reacted out of fear rather than faith. Peter forgot the words of David in Ps 118:6 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?

Lk 23:34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. Denial. Sometimes we are in denial because we like how things are and we refuse to accept something new and different. The guards casting lots we eye witnesses of God’s power. They saw the signs.

Mt 19:21-22 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Difficulty. When we realize we have to do something that isn’t easy, sometimes we give up. The rich young man in this encounter is a prime example.

Isaiah 28:21 For the Lord will rise up as on Mount Perazim; as in the Valley of Gibeon he will be roused; to do his deed—strange is his deed! and to work his work—alien is his work! Strangeness. God is a mystery. He does things we can’t fathom. Some just can’t grasp the gospel because it too foreign to the worldly things they do understand.

2 Jn 1:7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Competing Information. Many would dilute or modify the good news of Jesus Christ. The world itself offers a great many things (temptations) to also serve as distractions. Satan uses every means at his disposal to try and keep us from obedience.

1 Tim 4:12 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Bad Examples. It is no wonder we aren’t successful in communicating the good news when we don’t give an example of its value to the world.

1.6.10 What command does Jesus give regarding doubt?

Jn 18:17 The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” To put Thomas into perspective, we will examine Peter’s example of doubt. Peter illustrated perfectly the fruit of doubt. Peter expressed doubt through action whereas Thomas expressed doubt in words. Thomas is often looked down upon by modern Christianity, but he was honest enough to admit he doubted and explained what it would take to remove the doubt. Peter, on the other hand, said one thing and did another. Doubt became sin when Peter denied knowing Jesus.

Jn 20:8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed This verse takes place immediately after the girls find the tomb empty and they’ve called the men to see the empty tomb. We cannot be certain who the “other disciple” was, but we know that for them, seeing meant believing.

Jn 21:17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” Jesus forgave Peter for his moment of doubt. Just as Peter’s doubt was an act rather than mere words, Peter was given specific work to do in order to act in faith.

Jn 20:27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” First, Jesus revealed himself just as he did to the other disciples following the resurrection. It was only after Jesus removed the excuse for doubt that he told Thomas to stop doubting and believe.

In word and deed, Jesus commands that we put aside doubt and replace it with belief.

1.6.11 How do you suppose God feels about doubt?

Jn 20:29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Lk 24:36-40 As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.

Both with Thomas and with those gathered and waiting, there was doubt. In both cases Jesus recognized the doubt and took away their excuses for it. To me this indicates a great deal of mercy from one who obviously doesn’t need to stoop to our level. Rather, Jesus – the divine manifestation of God in the flesh – proactively addressed doubt directly. I am grateful for the testimony of mercy given here, because without the loving mercy, our all powerful almighty God would have no reason not to squash us like bugs and dispose of us like vermin. Surely God doesn’t have much use for doubt because he admonishes us to turn from doubt to belief. That’s the summary of his mission on earth. He proved his mercy and in so doing sought to return our attention and trust to His glory rather than our own.

1.6.12 How should you treat someone who has doubts?

Jude 22 “And have mercy on those who doubt.” Just as the Lord takes mercy on us in our doubt, actively intervening in our lives to overcome our doubts, he wants us to be merciful toward fellow believers who doubt. This does not mean we accept doubt, but rather we should follow Christ’s example of dealing with doubt by demonstrating the truth and removing all excuse for doubt. Love them, help them, show them, teach them challenge them and get them to think deeply and independently as you have. As they grow, go with them until they can persevere on their own. Don’t enable, don’t do it for them, but encourage and motivate them so they will succeed. I think this is a great way to show God’s love, and love covers a multitude of sins.

1.6.13 What does doubt cause you to do?

Our focal passage (Jas 1:5-8) speaks nicely to this question. It says doubt causes us not to receive anything from the Lord. This question ties together the all the other questions previous raised about doubt. Doubt was defined as essentially the opposite (or absence) of faith. If one doubts God, they lack faith and in fact are in a condition of unbelief. Without belief we cannot be saved (ref Jn 3:16) and we will act in disobedience (ref Heb 4:6). James says that the doubter is double-minded and unstable. He essentially says the doubter is wishy-washy and gullible. The doubter is a sucker. W. C. Fields said “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Sadly he was right. If we are true believers, no small part of our obedience to our Lord is to reveal our Lord accurately to non-believers and believers who have doubt.

If you doubt and are therefore unstable in your values, you will be easy prey for temptation. Temptation begets sin which begets death (ref James 1:14-15). Doubt is like the AIDS virus. It doesn’t kill directly, but makes you susceptible to death by common disease (common temptation).

1.6.14 Do you think doubt is the same as worry?

Some people confuse doubt and worry. Doubt is the opposite or absence of faith.* Worry means to be anxious, which is to say being troubled with cares. While the two concepts are unique, worry tends to lead to doubt. We can worry about a lot of things, but aside from reducing our productivity, when we worry we tend to dwell on the “what if” scenarios in our minds. Worry may generate fear, but it may just as easily cause us to start justifying our concerns and taking control away from God. When we do this, we do the same thing as Eve – we presume to become like God in our superiority, doubting God’s authority by replacing it with our own.

To illustrate worry, consider Mt 6:27 in the following translations:

ESV: And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

KJV: Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

NIV: Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

Each of these popular translations conveys the concept of worry differently. After researching the Greek further I would be satisfied to accept any of the three renderings of the verse, though in this case KJV does a more accurate job of rendering cubits to stature as opposed to the other versions which render hours to life. The word translated worry (NIV) and thought (KJV) appears to be most accurately translated as anxious (ESV).

Okay, forget all the technical stuff. The point is no, doubt and worry aren’t the same, but odds are favorable that worry could lead to doubt.

*Someone pointed out to me that momentary doubt is okay, we can grow either faith or sin from moments of doubt. I disagree completely for several reasons. For one, if we doubt, it is only when we decided to trust that the doubt is overcome by faith. For this to happen, by grace the excuse for doubt is removed and facts are accepted so that our doubt is replaced by faith, even for a moment. The second reason I disagree is that in times of stress our genuine selves are exposed. When we have time for calm and composure its easier to say or do the “right” thing. Under stress, however, what we really think and feel and believe tends to be exposed. If we say we’re believers, any doubts we have are exposed in the moments of stress. I don’t believe in momentary doubt, only momentary exposure of the doubt. God tests us in order to expose the doubt. If He can reveal it, we can see it, then He can refine us into faith by revealing himself in ways that remove the doubt and strengthen our faith. If our faith grows after expressing doubt, it is the supernatural effect of God refining us and releasing us from the doubts. Doubt, left on its own, is always a negative.

1.6.15 Why the sea analogy?

Isaiah 43:1-2a But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;

Have you ever been to sea? The ocean can be a violent and dangerous place. I spent four of my six years in the Navy at sea, stationed aboard the USS Tinosa (SSN-606). Submarines are strange vessels. For one thing, they’re designed to sink. We had this saying: “A sub really only belongs one of two places – either tied to the pier or at least 400 feet below the surface.” For all you land lubbers out there, this means you don’t want to be sitting on the surface in a vessel shaped like an oblong bobber. The depths of the ocean are always stable, but on the surface, even in relatively mild seas, the boat is constantly shifting under your feet. In heavy seas it can be difficult to remain standing. I remember once when we came to periscope depth in the North Sea, I woke up in a bunk across the isle from my own and one level lower after being ejected by the power of the waves against the hull.

The waves of the sea are pushed about according to whatever winds are pressed upon the waters. To survive the force of the sea, a vessel must be well made, which is to say solid and secure, something that will persevere and be steadfast in spite of the storms. Anyone can flail about out there in the waves, and those out there in the waves will only go where the winds take them, for only in Christ do we have a secure vessel that can carry us safely home. Remain in the safe ship (Christ) and you will make it to port (heaven).