Friday, July 24, 2020

The Vision (7.24.20): A Double Minded Man

Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on James 1:5-8.

A double minded man is unstable in all his ways (James 1:8).

In James 1:6-8 the Apostle describes the type of person who does not ask for wisdom from God as “wavering” (v. 6a). He then adds: “For he is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed” (v. 6b).

The sea is an image of inconsistency. If you go to the ocean you will see the waves crashing on the shore, but they do not do so uniformly. They are shaped by the circumstances. The waves of the sea are an image of instability, of that which is ever erratic and chaotic. James here says that the wavering and inconsistent man is like this.

Paul uses the same analogy in Ephesians 4:14 when he urges believers not to be like children “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.”

We might say that a consistent and fruitful Christian life requires, to use a phrase borrowed from a philosopher, “a long obedience in the same direction.”

What would happen if we tried to plant a tree, but every week we dug it up and transplanted it to a new location? Would it ever put down deep roots and grow downward and upward to a magnificent height?

James says that the unstable and wavering man shall not receive anything from the Lord (v. 7). He will depart from the Lord’s presence with empty hands.

The Apostle then adds a final observation: “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” The word for “double minded” in Greek is di-psychos, literally double-spirited, or even double-souled. Bunyan has a character like this in Pilgrim’s Progress named “Mr. Facing-both-ways.”

There is a warning for us here. Do not be like this man.

What is the opposite of such a person? It would be a single-minded man, a consistent man, a  man who fixes his affections on Christ, who forms a core convictional and doctrinal framework based on Scripture, and who holds fast to those commitments, without wavering, not blown about here and there by every passing fancy.

Let us be consistent, single-minded men and women, rather than double-minded.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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