If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him. But he must ask [for wisdom] in faith, without doubting [God’s willingness to help], for the one who doubts is like a billowing surge of the sea that is blown about and tossed by the wind. For such a person ought not to think or expect that he will receive anything [at all] from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable and restless in all his ways [in everything he thinks, feels, or decides].
This passage begins with a message of comfort in that God desires for us to have wisdom. In fact, He desires it so greatly that he will provide it to anyone who lacks it if only he asks. That is a great promise, but it does not come without a requirement. When we seek God, we must believe that He will provide. This is not merely a suggestion or recommendation but a command. The manner in which we ask illustrates the condition of our faith, and God desires that it be untainted.
Here, James tells us that those who ask in doubt instead of faith are double-minded, unstable and restless. Later in this same letter, James likens the double-minded to the impure and unfaithful [James 4:8]. Asking with doubt is so serious that one who does so should expect no response from God. That is pretty severe but with reason. Our faith, if true, should exhibit whole reliance on the Father in every respect. By definition, faith leaves no room for doubt.
If we believe that God is omnipotent, then we believe that there is nothing He cannot do. When we approach him in doubt, we are telling him that we do not believe this fundamental truth about his nature. No mind can both believe and doubt. Our faith must be complete, or it fails. Father, remove doubt from your people and make them faithful as you require so that wisdom and all good things may increase within them.