“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it shall be given to him. But let him ask in faith, doubting nothing, for he that doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he shall receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
– James 1:5-8
“Maybe God will! … But maybe He won’t!” Is this what a double-minded person sounds like?
That’s certainly how many of us came to understand it, but the truth is, that is not the inner conversation of a double-minded person. Why? Because it is really just the confused debating of a single mind. It is the mind of one, single individual who is arguing both sides.
Our natural mind experiences questioning doubts and concerns daily, and not just concerning the things of Jesus. We will concern about a job interview, or work project, supper that evening, and any number of things we can be anxious over. It’s the natural state of the natural mind separated from God – anxious for everything, but still only one mind.
A double-minded person requires two minds: their own … and Christ’s.
“As the scripture says, ‘Who knows the mind of the Lord? Who is able to give him advice?’ We, however, have the mind of Christ.”
– 1Corinthians 2:16
We were all born with our own mind – all the heights, lows, and confusions that come with it. This is the mind we have learned from our experiences in this world, and the one we tend to hold to because it’s familiar. Then when we received Jesus we also received His mind. Two minds. But that doesn’t make us double-minded. When we are led by Jesus’ Spirit we are one with Him. We see things His way and we think like Him. It’s when we are in conflict with Him that we are double-minded.
At this point it would prove useful to clarify what being in conflict means. We have all held our doubts whether Jesus told us to do something or not, or we ask for something and wonder if He’s really okay with it. Those are just guesses on our part, not conflict – the musings of our old experiences with a worldly mind. We are not penalized by God for those! He works within us to help us resolve those anxious ways of thinking. Conflict, however, is not a guess. It’s a choice – most often motivated by our emotions – and it is contrary to what we know our Lord has said. But again, praise God, we are not penalized for those, either! Read on …
“Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new.”
– 2 Corinthians 5:17
Jesus knew what He accomplished on the cross – our righteousness through faith, and peace with God.
“And the scripture came true that said, ‘Abraham believed God, and because of his faith God accepted him as righteous.’ And so Abraham was called God’s friend.”
– James 2:23
So Christ’s thoughts about our righteousness and peace are part of our minds – we know them because they are part of us – but many of us have other thoughts, too: “I’m terrible, I’m a sinner, I’m so awful!” And when we believe ourselves over Jesus we become double-minded. We are no longer thinking like Jesus, so there is no way we can be at the times and places He has prepared for us to receive because those times and places are also in accordance to His thoughts. It could not occur to us to be anywhere He has in mind because we are following our own opinion. We can’t receive from Him! He doesn’t penalize us – we penalize ourselves.
For let not that man suppose that he shall receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
Consider a time when any of us may have asked Jesus for something, and we have decided His answer is yes. So where would Jesus place His answer so that we can receive? It would be some place a righteous person at peace with God would consider. But it would never occur to anyone who judges themselves guilty and disapproved of by God. It’s not that God didn’t answer – it’s that the double-minded person is not thinking like Jesus.
Without His mind we are limited to our worldly reasoning, and too often we are limited by our worldly reasoning even knowing His mind. When Jesus fed the multitude the worldly reasoning was focused on how little fish and bread there was. The worldly mind would not have considered catching a fish and looking in its mouth for the tax money. Crossing the waters required a boat – walking across was never an option.
Now in all fairness, would those thoughts actually occur to any of us? Probably not, but what they illustrate is that our Lord is not limited in meeting a need. When we see an empty wallet, it doesn’t mean the answer is no or not yet. It just means the answer isn’t there. The undisputed truth is that Jesus can! And if you are persuaded of your righteousness and peace with God you can believe that Jesus will.
And you will find yourself at the point of place and time that He has prepared for your answer. Instead of debating and analyzing and worrying, you choose to settle in the truth: Jesus can, and He will. And you go on about your days confident in that. You stop worrying about the answer and instead just find yourself at the place and time He has prepared.
The undisputed truth is that Jesus can! And if you are persuaded of your righteousness and peace with God you can believe that Jesus will.
That is what a righteous person at peace with God thinks: “Jesus can, and He will.”
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists (He can) and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him (He will).”
– Hebrews 11:6 (brackets ours)
If you think something you need might not happen, how do you behave? You worry, argue, isolate, fixate and spend much time on yourself and your need. Not the behaviours of a righteous person and certainly not at peace with God. But if you are persuaded something you need will happen, how do you behave? Certainly what you WON’T be doing is wasting time focusing on yourself 🙂 … and if you’re not focusing on yourself then you are likely putting your energies into others.
Settle this in the truth then: you are righteous because Christ obtained that for you, and God delights in you because you are His child.
Jesus can, and He will.