The Bible says a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways (James 1:8). The Bible also says to draw near to Him, and He will draw near to you (James 4:8). The verse continues to say, “cleanse your hands and purify your hearts, ye double-minded.”
In Luke 16:13, the Lord reminds us that no man can serve two masters. You will either hate one or love the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. Sometimes people get that confused. God does not mind us having things, but He does not want things to have us. He does not want us to do anything for money.
I like to use the owners of a well-known chicken restaurant closed on Sundays as an example. Their employees do not work on Sundays. What is this establishment saying? They want to keep the day set aside as the Sabbath without working. They are not even permitting their employees to work. I am sure some of their employees wouldn’t mind working. The owners may work five to six days a week but have a day of rest. They show us that they are putting their religion and its doctrines first.
People expect us to be who we say we are. They will hold us to a certain standard. They might even say, “I thought you were a Christian,” if what we do doesn’t align with what they believe about Christians. I suppose, for us to be stable and not double-minded, one of the things we should learn to do is to keep the Sabbath. Exodus 20:8-11 tells us to keep the Sabbath day holy.
How Does a Double-Minded Man Behave?
Based on what James 1 warns its readers to avoid, a double-minded person is someone who fluctuates in their loyalty to Christ. Their belief in whether or not he existed may not shift back and forth, but their commitment to following him changes, sometimes following other gods instead. It is safe to assume that this conflict will create many issues in the double-minded person’s life, from increased doubts to struggles with sin.
According to James 4:7, we are to submit to God and draw near to Him. Of course, part of this requires being discerning. As a Christian, it’s good to be an investigator and consider what you truly believe. You don’t have to take other people’s Word on everything. However, we find our full identity in our relationship with God. We will have struggles and doubts. However, we find our final resting place in his care. Pray and seek a closer relationship with God so that He can give you more discernment about some of your questions.
How Can We Repent from Being Double-Minded?
If you have been double-minded, ask God for forgiveness. Then begin making chances so you can turn from being double-minded to being single-minded in your devotion to God. Get in the Word of God. Think about what entertainment you watch, and consider what messages it is sending you. Seek music and other entertainment that helps you stay grounded in godly ideas.
If you are in situations where you feel tempted to be double-minded, focus on what the Word of God says about the matter. This will settle an issue. The Word of God gives you peace. Bible says to study God’s Word to show thyself approved unto God. A workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.
So much of how we live out our faith is influenced by who we are around. Be careful about who you let in your ear. Unfortunately, everyone is not saved and does not have the Holy Ghost operating in them. Some would rather see you fall in distress. The Bible tells us to be sober and vigilant because our adversary, the devil, is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8-9). Seek a Bible-based church and believers who are strong in the faith.
How Can We Help a Double-Minded Man?
You will not only find that being in Christian community helps you, but it also leads to you giving back. There may come a day when you are the one who is strong in the faith, undergirding some people in their difficult times.
You can be a witness for Jesus to someone who is double-minded. You can encourage them as they are looking for a reason to believe. God has given the body of Christ many different giftings for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, and the edifying of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12).
Even though you might not be a pastor, prophet, evangelist, apostle, or teacher, you can still encourage people. Unfortunately, people do get tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and the cunning craftiness of others (Ephesians 4:14).
We are to speak the truth in love and hope they will grow in their faith. Just remember, as you encourage someone in the faith, that if you ever need to be encouraged, someone will encourage you. The Bible declares as long as the earth remains, seedtime and harvest will continue. (Genesis 8:22)
How to Pray for a Double-Minded Man
I always encourage people to pray the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. This prayer is a good model both for general daily prayer and for whenever you are in a dire situation. God knows it is the model that Jesus gave, and He honors us coming to Him in this way.
You should encourage someone who is going back and forth on their faith to ask for forgiveness. Also, ask God to help their unbelief. Ask God to put them around faith-filled people who will not strategically try to destroy their faith. The Bible says they who hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled (Matthew 5:6).
Ask God to guard their ears and eyes so they will be careful about what they watch and listen to on television, radio, and other entertainment. The enemy is very crafty and will come at you however he can. If you are constantly on social media, he might try to come at you that way. The enemy will even try to steal the Word you just heard in church. Matthew 13 compares the Word of God taking root in people to seeds that are sown. The Word can be choked if it falls on the ground with thorns and stony places. If it is sown on good ground, then people can grow in their faith.
Encourage them to read the Word every day. Meditating on the Word of God is time well spent.
A Classic Prayer for Steadfast Faith
Lord God, heavenly Father, we are poor, miserable sinners. We know your will, but we are too weak to fulfill it. Our flesh and blood hold us back, and our enemy the devil will not leave us in peace. Pour your Holy Spirit in our hearts, that with steadfast faith we may cling to your Son Jesus Christ, find comfort in his passion and death, believe the forgiveness of sin through him and in willing obedience to your will lead holy lives on earth until by your grace we depart from this world of sorrow and obtain eternal life; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one true God, now and forever.
- Veit Dietrich, d. 1549, Trinity 18
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Dmitrii_Guzhanin
Dr. Sandra Hamer Smith is a Christian and wife to Sylvester Smith. She has one stepson, Greg. Smith lives and resides in Memphis, Tennessee. The University of Memphis alumnae has been in education for about 20 years after receiving the call to teach. Dr. Smith primarily teaches language arts. Prior to education, she worked in local and national television news for 13 years including positions as an overnight news anchor, reporter, and assignments editor at two local network affiliate stations. Smith was also a freelance correspondent for BET news. Dr. Smith has freelanced for the Tri-State Defender newspaper and Contempora magazine. She is the author of the self-published novel GLORY…THE HAIR. Smith is also a playwright and poet. The Tennessee native is a member of Temple of Deliverance COGIC, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc, Omicron Delta Kappa, The Golden Key International Honour Society, and Kappa Delta Pi.
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