What does it mean to be double-minded? As we’ve discussed throughout this series, your mind and your thought life are crucial. We are called to have the mind of Christ, to meditate on Him and His promises, and to allow the Holy Spirit to transform us from the inside out by the renewing of our minds.
Certainly, there’s no room for double-mindedness.
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But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. – James 1:5-8
In this passage from the book of James, we see a double-minded man. Part of his mind believes that God will give him what he asks for (wisdom), and the other part of his mind doubts that God will keep His promise. In this case, his “double mind” consists of both faith and doubt.
I don’t know about you, but I found this passage to be quite convicting. I think we’ve all experienced our fair share of doubt over the years, and having absolute faith and zero doubt 100% of the time seems next to impossible. But this verse is pretty clear: one who doubts God’s faithfulness is “unstable in all they do.”
So what’s the solution?
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you.” – Luke 17:5-6
When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to build their faith, He responded by telling them that even the smallest amount of faith can work miracles. In other words, God will work with what we have… even if its the size of a mustard seed. Our faith grows as we walk day by day with Him – when we trust Him and He proves Himself to be faithful over and over again in our lives.
There is one other place in the book of James where we are warned of double-mindedness:
Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. – James 4:7-8
In this instance, being double-minded has to do with worldly thinking and sin. We can’t serve two masters.
We can’t be double-minded – thinking like the world and striving to have the mind of Christ simultaneously. It simply doesn’t work.
In all honesty, both passages define the “double-minded man” as someone who is trying to serve God while still thinking like the world. In one instance, he is doubting God and His promises. He is living by sight rather than by faith. And in the other instance, he is allowing the enemy to guide his thinking. He’s living like the world while trying to serve God.
By biblical standards, a double-minded man is one who has been given the mind of Christ but he isn’t operating in it. He’s constantly going back and forth. This is why the Bible calls him unstable.
So don’t be double-minded. Choose instead to be single-minded, throwing away worldly thinking.
Never forget that you have been given the mind of Christ… so use it.
…But we have the mind of Christ. – 1 Corinthians 2:16
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*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.