These days I am increasingly convicted my own ways of being unfocused and uncommitted in my walk of faith. I am committed, don’t get me wrong, but I have my own unique ways of casting myself adrift. The Holy Spirit is rubbing my nose in this and I must say that although unpleasant at times, it is overall a positive thing.
Jesus tells us that a house divided against itself cannot stand and certainly an individual divided against himself or herself cannot stand, either. I am guilty in spades and confess that I am chronically double-minded. James (James 1:8) warns against this and says that a double-minded man is unstable in all ways. Paul, in 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, echoes the message of Jesus and his brother James when he says:
But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent. You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed. (NLT)
Jesus words about a house divided and the passages cited by James and Paul all point to the dangers of double-mindedness. The Master says we cannot stand, but instead, will fall. James does not mince his words – he plainly tells us that this lack of commitment leads to instability in all areas of our lives, and Paul says that it leads to corruption and susceptibility to false teaching.
In another relevant passage of scripture, the disciples spot Jesus walking on the waves and Peter, in an initial act of faith, heads out across the water to greet his Master. At some point, however, the disciple discovers what he is actually doing, doubt sets in, and he sinks like a stone. Jesus, in his response to Peter, asks him, “You of little faith. . . .why did you doubt? (Matthew 14:31). What does this have to do with double-mindedness? Plenty!
Dr. Warren Wiersbe, in his commentary on this passage, tells us that the word translated as doubt actually has the meaning of “standing uncertainly at two ways.” Peter ended up with little faith because he saw two ways of proceeding and in that momentary paralysis, sank with the weight of uncertainty. This is a vivid example of the dangers of a double mind.
Held firm in our walk of faith by our firm commitment to Christ, we are encouraged to deepen our connection to the Master and in all things, to remain focused on Jesus, the author of our salvation and the Holy Spirit, the choreographer of our sanctification. In all these things, the implication is to avoid double-mindedness. Paul tells us:
And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body (Col. 2:6-9 NLT).
In my personal walk of faith, as I have mentioned here and elsewhere, double-mindedness has been a consistent stronghold the enemy has built up over the years. The Lord has been faithful where I have been unfaithful and he, like the shepherd looking for the one sheep that left the fold, has come to fetch me on many occasions. I don’t mean to say that I have wandered into deep sin or anything like that. Instead, my unfaithfulness has been more in seeking spiritual solace in places other than the Christian faith. The thing the Holy Spirit finally helped me to see was that there is a huge difference between the person of Jesus Christ and the religion that bears his name.
Understanding that one simple truth has made a world of difference for me. Now, I find much comfort in the “God of All Comfort” and have come to understand that he is, indeed, with me always and at all times.
And as I have come to be less double-minded, I am much less a house divided against itself. I have become more spiritually mature and less likely to wander down some seemingly fascinating theological rabbit hole, yet I do admit that sometimes the temptation still arises.
And it is in this growth that I have discovered another salient truth about the Christian walk of faith. As we become more single-minded in our commitment to Christ, we do become more mature from a spiritual perspective. We become more stable (not unstable like James warned us about) and less likely to be taken in by what Paul called “high-sounding nonsense.” In Ephesians 4, Paul gives us further wise counsel:
Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church (Eph. 4:14-15)
Double-mindedness, lack of focus, and inconsistent commitment are all counterproductive to an effective walk of faith. I hope in some small way this article has helped to illustrate that cogent fact. And without a doubt, the scriptures cited point to the need to address these obstacles if, in fact, they do exist in your life.
I would encourage readers to spend some prayer time over the next week, asking the Master to reveal to you any areas in your walk of faith were these issues may be lurking. Also, ask for power, guidance, and wisdom in addressing whatever may arise as you do this.
Think about it.
© L.D. Turner 2014/All Rights Reserved