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How to Stop Being Double-Minded

I have often referenced the power associated with choice. Our decisions signal to God, ourselves, and others what the makeup is of our morale compass. And while there are times that those around us misinterpret the intentions of our actions, God does not. He sees who we are, paying attention to our strengths and weaknesses as He pushes us towards a state of continual learning and growth. This state, however, also presents challenges – because it asks us to go against our carnal nature and towards the character of Christ. If we aren’t mindful, we won’t fully commit to a life in Christ because we’ll be unable to let go of the character traits, people, and situations that are holding us back. And when we don’t fully commit – we become double-minded.

What Does It Mean to Become Double-Minded?

Double-mindedness occurs when what we say is inconsistent with what we do or believe, because we haven’t truly grounded ourselves in our walk with God. In James 1:5-8, we are given an example of such a state and the impact it has on us:

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Now I understand that it’s not always easy for us to ask in faith, without doubting. Sometimes life will get the best of us, but that does not deemphasize the need for spiritual alignment. What we ask of God and what we believe He will do for us should be one in the same. Without this alignment, the scriptures warn us that we become unstable… not just in one or two ways, but in all of our ways. Such an outcome does not allow us to achieve the true peace and understanding that God would have for us. We will be searching, but always coming up short.

Jesus told us during a sermon, in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” To try to choose both God and self ultimately results in the type of chaos that seeps through our entire lives.  We become double-minded, and the result is this: God cannot move in our lives in the way we expect and hope for if we are operating from this place of sin.

Standing in Our Decisions

Earlier in the that sermon, you will find Jesus referencing the same concept: that we need to stand in our decisions. In Matthew 5:37, Christ said “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” Jesus issues this strong declaration, letting us know that if we do not mean what we say, and say what we mean, we are embracing the evil one. And if we think about the chaos and confusion that double-mindedness breeds, we can understand Christ’s sentiment. Our actions cause doubt, mistrust, and sorrow. We hurt those we love, and we become a stumbling block for those trying to grow in their Christian journeys. We can’t fully be honest with ourselves because we’re too busy making excuses for our behavior. How can we exhibit the fullness of God’s love and light when we can’t access it?  

I Corinthians 14:33 tells us that “God is not the author of confusion but of peace.” We are called to recognize double-mindedness when it enters our lives. If we’re being mindful, we’ll feel it because of the emotional instability it brings. We’ll know it because of this misalignment we see. It could be in the truth of someone’s character or in the crevices of our own souls. Either way, God is asking us to have the courage to face what He is revealing to us, and then to seek His guidance and wisdom on how to proceed.

There is Hope

When it comes to our personal growth, the scriptures provide us with guidance on how to remove any double-mindedness that has crept inside. In James 4:7-10 we read:

Therefore submit 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. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

It takes humility to admit where we’ve gone wrong. If we are willing to seek God with all of our hearts, He will reveal to us the areas where we are being double-minded, and what’s driving that instability. It could be fear or hurt. We may have malicious or selfish intent. Or maybe we truly don’t know which way to go, and we feel a bit lost. It takes courage to course-correct, but with God, there is hope. With Him, we have the strength needed to embrace the changes that will drive our growth. We’ll recognize where we’re going off path, or when others are trying to take us off path. So draw near to God, and let Him come close to you. Be open to what God is showing you and where He’s taking you. If you are, then God will lift you up, taking you to places you thought impossible to go. Today is the day to start trusting God… where He resides, peace does also.

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