July 17, 2023

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

-James 4:8

Last week I was out riding and I needed to make a run to Wal-mart to pick up a few things for a trip I was taking.  As I was approaching the turn for Wal-mart I moved over to the left lane to allow room for a gentleman entering the road from an on-ramp, no big deal, right?  Well, it turned into a big deal in a short time.

I was right beside this vehicle, I looked in the driver window to ensure that he saw me as I approached the turn lane for Walmart.  He looked directly at me…and then proceeded to move over into my lane!  I blew the horn, backed off my speed and avoided getting run over.  But I did end up directly behind this guy and I saw him look in his rearview mirror.  As it turns out, he was going to Walmart too.  So I ended up pulling in behind him and waited for him to get out of his car.  When he got out he asked if he could help me.  I simply told him that he needed to watch where he was going.  He said that he always watches where he was going, so I explained what happened, knowing that he definitely saw me.  He responded that he has two Harley’s and that I should know I’m invisible.  He did not say he was sorry, but he defended his poor driving by telling me that I am invisible.  Now, we all know that we have to ride defensively, as if we are invisible.  As a motorcyclist, I drive with more caution than I did before I started riding because I know what goes through our minds when we ride, the things we look for on the road.  All of us do that, except apparently this guy.  Personally, I doubt that he really does ride because of the preposterous comment that he had just made to me.  He wanted to have it both ways, but he did not want to admit he had made a mistake, he wanted to make it my fault simply because I was riding a motorcycle.  I told him, one more time to watch what he was doing before i rode off and found my own place to park.

In the letter of James, he writes about a “double-minded” man.  To me, the guy I had just interacted with was double-minded, maybe not in the Biblical sense, but he could have done what was right and acknowledged his error, but he chose to absolve himself from any wrong by blaming me.  That seems to be double-minded.  Now, Biblically, being double-minded means that we think we can have one foot in the Word and the other foot in the World.  James says it like this

“ he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

-James 1:8

Our faith should not be in ourselves, our faith should be in God.

Why should we not expect to receive anything from God?  Because we are double-minded and unstable!  Well, why are we considered double-minded and unstable if we doubt?

Basically, I think it boils down to this: we profess that we trust God, so if we don’t, in fact, trust Him, we should not expect to receive anything from Him.  We cannot both trust and not trust God at the same time!  That is double-minded and unstable.

To be double-minded means that we have two minds.  One that trusts God and the other that does not. James’ point here is that we cannot both say that God is Creator of all things and can do all things, and at the same time doubt that He can provide us wisdom.

This rebuke by James does not point to a single moment of doubt, but a consistent doubt.  James is talking about an inconsistent person who claims to be a believer but does not really live it out.  This is inadequate faith. If we’re not convinced that God’s ways are best for us, why are we even asking Him for anything?

However, the person who trusts in God; he or she can ask God for wisdom and He will provide it. On a practical level, if we don’t have faith, what should we do?  We should ask God!  If He is the giver of wisdom, He is certainly also the giver of faith.

God wants us to have faith, so we should ask Him to increase our faith.

We see this in these words from the gospel of Mark where the father of the demon-possessed boy said to Jesus, 

“I believe, help my unbelief!”

-Mark 9:24

There is no middle ground between belief and unbelief.  You either believe in and trust God, or you don’t.  You either trust God to provide wisdom for you, or you don’t.

So we see that when we ask for wisdom, that the basis of our confidence is not in our faith itself, but in the one in whom we have faith!  God, the Creator of the Universe!

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