James 1:8

Saturday, 8 June 2019

he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1:8

In this verse, James describes the man who doubts when asking for wisdom. Such a person is “a double-minded man.” The word translated as double-minded is unique to James, being used here and in verse 4:8. It signifies someone who is undecided about things. He can’t make up his mind and thus cannot commit to anything, whether sound or not. In the Old Testament, the heart is used as a metaphor for the mind. Thus, the same type of thought is conveyed in Psalm 12 –

“They speak idly everyone with his neighbor;
With flattering lips and a double heart they speak.” Psalm 12:2

In the case of the one James is describing, it is not referring to one who is deceitful, just vacillating and unsure.

Further, James says he is “unstable in all his ways.” The word translated as “unstable” is another word unique to James, being found here and in verse 3:8. It signifies someone who is not constant in his attitudes and actions because he is double-minded. What this is speaking of is a person who is this way by nature, not necessarily in his prayers for wisdom. Such an attitude defines him. A person with this attitude will be this way in both his requests for wisdom and in his expectation concerning the approval of his requests. It is a pointless mindset which will result in no positive response from the Lord.

Here is why –

1) A person asks God for wisdom.
2) The very fact that one asks God for wisdom supposes that he believes in God.
3) If the One being petitioned is all-knowing, then the wisdom provided will be suitable to the request.
4) Therefore, the person who doubts such wisdom and continues to fret over the possible outcomes is double-minded.

In this scenario, the person is demonstrating a complete lack of faith in the Creator. The future is His responsibility. What is given for today is sufficient for today. It is for this reason that worry, in particular, is so damaging to a relationship with God. He asks us to trust that He is going to handle our lives in the appropriate way. The wisdom He gives us for today will be sufficient for the here and now, but if we doubt it then how can God find pleasure in us?

Life application: Trust isn’t easy to come by – particularly between humans. But trusting is what establishes relationships. God has given us His word and asks us to trust that it is sufficient. When we doubt the promises of the Bible, then there is a rift in our relationship with the One who gave it in the first place. Think it through and you will see that all things occur by His providence and for His purposes. We simply need to trust this is so.

Don’t be double-minded by calling on God and then doubting Him or by worrying about what belongs to Him. Instead, have faith that He is in control.

Lord God, you know our weaknesses when it comes to trusting You. You also know that we can’t see the future, which is yet unknown to us. Therefore, help us to direct our hearts, faith, and future to the care of Your hands – without doubt or worry – knowing that You have all things in Your control. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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