My computer crashed this week and I am having to use Angie’s pc. Her keyboard has letters worn off and I don’ type so this is going to take some extended time to write! When all else fails understand that the enemy is at work. He actually shows us when something is about to happen due to the attacks. In Ephesians 6:12 Paul instructs us that our battles aren’t in the flesh. This should always remind us that when things looks like they are failing we are about to be victorious.
Turn with me to the Book of James this week as we look at ourselves. James is one of my favorite books as each verse seems to be full of wisdom. You can barely read within it when the Holy Spirit will stop you and suggest that you think about it. There are many phrases that we’ve come to know as being Christian. For example, we use the term “born-again” without blinking but that is particularly from the Bible. In James chapter one and verse eight we see another term – “double-minded”. It’s the double-minded man that I want to look at today. We often meet people who are living this way but we may not perceive it at the beginning. At first we meet people who seem to connect with us. We pick up on common interests or beliefs and seem to have a lot in common but then later they reveal things that are contrary to those beliefs.
Let me give you an example. My family dresses plain. My wife and daughters wear long dresses and head coverings. I wear plain clothes and we have been this way for over twelve years. When we first started our changes we didn’t dress exactly like this. We began to be more conservative and then God took us from there to where we are. We’ve never gone back nor do we intend to. We made the changes slowly enough that we didn’t step ahead of God. Through these years we have met many people who stated that they believed in plain, modest clothes also. Some even stated that they believed they were dressing ungodly in trying to lure the opposite sex and that God had quickened their hearts about it when they met us. Yet, later these all seemed to recant their convictions and dressed like the rest of the world again. They even got angry at us for continuing in our belief even though we weren’t the ones who stated they were in sin. They brought it up first and then decided it was too hard to follow.
We have noticed that there are some on Facebook who have shown their double-mindedness with multiple accounts that have different personalities. On some accounts they are plain dressed people. They use these accounts when associating with folks like us. They also have accounts where they are dressed like a page from Vanity Fair. They use these for their “other” friends. I’m not sure which one of these people is the real one! It seems odd to me that someone would do this. I think it’s a great example of double mindedness though. If we are convicted to do something shouldn’t it be daily and with everyone? As one preacher once asked, “Are we holy with the holies and terrors with the terrors?” We ought to strive for a consistent life. If your conviction isn’t strong enough to walk the walk then maybe it’s time you sat a spell. I believe God would rather have you hot or cold and not lukewarm. (Rev 3:16)
There are other ways in which people are double-minded. Sometimes people mix Christianity with worldly things. For instance we follow the Holy Spirit for guidance. He directs us and leads us in the way that God would have us go. I have observed that some people have turned to astrology, witchcraft and the horoscope to find their future even though they proclaim Christ, too. Isn’t this getting mixed signals from both sides? Imagine how an army would fair if they listened to commands from generals of their side and the enemy. They would end up chasing their own tails! I heard a man jokingly say that when he prayed he prayed to God, Allah and Buddha because he wanted to make sure he had all the bases covered. To some that might seem funny but the outcome is very serious.
Look again at James chapter one. In verses six and seven he says if we pray for something and then doubt, we shall not receive. Let’s think about that a little deeper as we carry it into verse eight. The term double-minded means “wavering, uncertain, doubting”, but also “divided in interest”. James seems to be on a continued thought as he talks about someone being double-minded. Therefore, if we don’t put our complete faith in God when we pray we shouldn’t expect to receive it. God expects His people to trust in Him alone. James is speaking here of someone who shall not receive anything from the Lord.
What about those who change their faith altogether? A constant changing seems to indicate that someone isn’t very grounded in their convictions. I am not speaking of course corrections in which we learn of error or ignorance and then change our path. I have met people who stated they used to be Christian but it didn’t work so now they are Muslim or Atheist or something else. My response would be that they never were Christian as Christianity is a relationship and not a religion. If you are in a real relationship with Jehovah it will work. It’s when we spread our loyalties around that it doesn’t work. Imagine if I claimed to be married to Angie and yet admitted I also had other women I was faithful to. God is a jealous God and demands a pure spotless bride for His Son.
I have often had a mental image of an airplane trying to get off the ground when I think about someone’s faith. The pilot pushes the throttle forward and begins to get moving. At some point he reaches a speed in which he can pull back and turn around or go on and get in the air. Maybe you’ve seen someone who bounces a few times and then gets off the ground. It isn’t exactly the kind of flight I want. I want to have faith that the plane will climb like its designed to do. There is literally a point in our faith where we step into unseen territory. We must go into the unknown without a parachute. James was speaking of prayer but according to verse eight it is broader. He said that the double-minded man was unstable in all his ways.
Paul spoke of the struggle between the flesh and the Spirit in Romans chapter seven. His words hit us all clearly and we can relate to this pull. In verse nineteen he says that the good that he wants to do he doesn’t and the evil that he doesn’t want to do he ends up doing. How many times we all have felt this way! Have you ever noticed that you can hear a dirty joke one time and then remember it forever but it takes real concentration to memorize scripture? Our flesh man will overcome our spirit man if we don’t do something important to all of us. We must eat spiritual food regularly. Whatever diet we consume determines who wins. Look at Romans chapter eight. In verses twelve and thirteen, Paul eloquently tells us this. Living after the flesh can be hidden for a while but eventually it will be revealed. We need to be sincere with God and truly strive for perfection daily.
Did you ever notice two people who got married and after the wedding one or both of them appeared to be someone else? We sometimes say that the romance is gone but in reality it’s the façade. I have observed it often as people always put on the best image they can; temporarily becoming who the other would fall in love with. Once the wedding vows are taken the pursuit is over and their interests are on to something else. After all, they won the hunt and now they can stop pretending and become who they really are. Sadly, many people believe they know the person well that they are marrying and later discover they aren’t the man or woman they thought. Our life is just this way when we pretend with God. We may cry out to Him when we get in trouble and even tell Him how thankful we are when He saves us from the pit. Then when life is peaceful we create golden calves to worship. Unlike the foolish bride who believed her fiancé to be the man of her dreams, God really sees through us.
Being a double-minded man is a miserable state to be in. Like a squirrel crossing the road he can’t decide which side to be on. We’ve all seen what happens to the poor squirrel. With the speeding car approaching he thinks about what he left behind and how nice it was. Looking ahead he sees what he started out to acquire. The automobile causes him to panic and he can’t decide which would be better. In his indecision he always loses. You don’t have to live like that. You can press ahead. Even with an attack coming, you are always better off going forward. Don’t give up today. Put your faith totally in God. He will get you where you need to be.
Prayer-Father, thank You for always hearing the man who puts his faith in You. Remind us that being double-minded will cause us to fail. For those who read this message I pray that they will put on the whole armor of God and put off the old man. May they totally follow You today and experience the joy of living the Christian walk.
In Jesus’ Name-Amen
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