Double-Mindedness: Path to Instability (Article 19-1)
As believers, our call is to be stable in our understanding, thus thinking, in fulfilling God’s purpose. What do I mean by being “stable” in our thinking? It means to have the sureness of understanding of who we are in relation to God and our need for Him in all things. With this understanding, our quest in life (above all things) is to be one with Him just as it was in the time of Adam and Eve before our divine parents made the fateful decision to disobey God. Since man’s separation from God, he has been unstable in his thinking, thus understanding of the truth for which God intended us to have from the very beginning. We often witness man creating his own truths, which ebbs and flows like a dead river without purpose or function. Also, with God’s separation from our soul, we lose our spiritual connection with God. Without a spiritual connection with God, we do not belong to Him (Romans 8:9). We, by way of free will, chose to be our own and on our own. In other words, the fundamental effect of not having God’s Spirit is to not belonging to Him, which brings us back to what we should see as our main purpose of existence – to be reconciled with, thus one with, God. From this, we are able to understand the most fundamental truth regarding the purpose of existence – that being that we are not our own, but rather God’s own. Without God’s Spirit in us, thus wisdom, we know no truth and can know no truth, for no truth is in us. To have no truth means that we are untaught in God’s Word. To be untaught in God’s Word leads us to be unstable in our ways, thus causing us to, knowingly or unknowingly, twist, distort, and pervert the truth which leads to our own destruction. (2 Peter 3:16). As believers in Jesus Christ, we must be steadfast in our quest to abide in Him for all things (John 15:5-8) and with this indwelling, the knowledge of God’s truth. Without Christ, we will be led away with error of the wicked instead of growing in the grace and knowledge of Him (2 Peter 3:17-18) and our Father's Will for our lives.
Double-mindedness. Further complicating our journey with God is our tendency to be double-minded in our approach to understand and accept God's will for our lives. James points out the consequences of being double-minded as it relates to our faith (trust) in God. Specifically, James tells us that if we ask for God's wisdom with weak faith and doubt, we are "double-minded" and as a result, can expect to be unstable in all our ways (James 1:5-8).
As it relates to understanding God's truths, I witness two other prevailing modes of “double” mindedness. One stems from our conflict between the "Flesh and Spirit" and the other being the conflict between "Law and Grace".
1. Flesh and Spirit Double-mindedness. The ongoing battle between our flesh and spirit conflicts us to a point in believing it is possible to live in both fleshly (worldly) and spiritual realms and with this compromise, believe we can still experience the fullness of Christ. The truth is that Christ and the Kingdom of Heaven exists in only one realm – that being a spiritual realm and not in a worldly realm. Christ reveals this truth when He responds to Nicodemus’s, a Jewish Pharisee’s, question regarding being “born again.” He tells Nicodemus “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is the flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit…You must be born again” (John 3:5-8). With this explanation, Christ makes the clear distinction between living as a human being tied to one's flesh versus living as a spiritual being tied to the Kingdom of Heaven. This point is particularly important as pertains to those who, through their rebirth (surrendering their lives to Jesus Christ, thus their own will to will of the Father), commit to abandoning their worldly human existence. One’s choice to be “born again” means exactly what it suggests – to be re-birthed into something that is totally and utterly different in how one existed formally. The phrase "born again" literally means "born from above." Nicodemus had a real need. He needed a change of his heart—a spiritual transformation. New birth, being born again, is an act of God whereby eternal life is imparted to the person who believes (2 Corinthians 5:17; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:3; 1 John 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1-4, 18). John 1:12, 13 indicates that being "born again" also means to become a child of God through trust in the name of Jesus Christ. When we are reborn, our call is to no longer exist as human beings that turn to the world for its direction and answers, but rather to exist as spiritual beings that turn to and depend on, by way faith, in Jesus Christ for direction and answers. We are to abandoned our prideful (worldly) nature, thus belief that we are our own and can manage our own lives, for we cannot be our own and God’s own at the same time.
2. Law and Grace Double-mindedness. A second realm of a double-minded existence is our understanding and application of God’s gift of grace, while at the same time placing oneself (or others) under "The Law (Ten Commandments)". Such double-mindedness again leads to being unstable in one's ways and with it, the perversion of the truth - especially as it pertains to God's plan for salvation. We must understand that Law and Grace cannot be mixed. To do so is like mixing oil and water together. No matter how hard or how long you mix the oil and water solution, the outcome is the same. The oil remains separate from the water with no new solution being formed. The same outcome can be expected when trying to mix law and grace together.
God gave us the Ten Commandments for two reasons. First, the Commandments were given to make us aware of sin (disobedience to God’s will) hence, what separates us from Him and the consequences of our disobedience – that being death and eternal separation from Him. Second, the Commandments were given to show us our need for God, for we cannot fulfill His Commandments by our own accord. It is impossible. Breaking just one law is in equal in consequence as breaking all the laws. In other words, one law is no greater in significance than another and fulfilling the breaking of just on or just a couple of laws verses the breaking of many did not alter or temper God’s judgement for punishment. However, by way of His unconditional love (unmerited [undeserved] favor) for us (referred to as God's grace), God sent His only begotten Son to fulfill the requirements of the Law for us, thus saving us (redeeming us by way of forgiveness) from the death penalty, thus paving the way for reconciliation (oneness with Him).
Although as believers we understand the above to be true, many professed Christians (being saved by God's grace) continue to place themselves under the law believing they can become holy by their own accord (efforts). This often is motivated by pride, thus desire to be “spiritually elite”, when compared to other Christians. We see spiritually elite worshipers in our churches – those being the ones who “cherry-pick” select Commandments (they believe they successfully fulfill by their own efforts) to beat about the heads and shoulders of others. Not only are these spiritually elite (Pharisaical) people not given the authority to behave in such ways, they are in Christ’s words “hypocrites” – deceivers of the truth regarding God’s mercy and unconditional love for all of us. Sadly too, is that these self-righteous believers, indicate by their behavior that Christ died in vain. To say, by way of faith, you are believer and follower in the teachings and instructions of Jesus Christ means that you believe that Christ has fulfilled the laws for us and by way of His own death and resurrection, redeemed us (saved us) from the consequences of breaking God’s Commandments. To practice strict observance of the law (or parts of it); advocate the following of select laws; and or to conduct oneself without regard to the Spirit of Christ is, in Christ's own words, being hypocritical, thus deceivers of the truth.
Summary: As believers, our call is to be stable in our understanding, thus thinking, in fulfilling God’s purpose while here on earth. We are to have the sureness of understanding of who we are in relation to God and our need for Him in all things. We must, by way of Jesus Christ, be spiritually connected with God and not to the world for our answers and direction. We must be steadfast in our quest to abide in Christ for all things and with this, experience the indwelling of His Spirit (the Holy Spirit). To do so requires us to be vigilant of the Evil One’s efforts to deceive us in believing we can be one with God while at the same time being our own God. Finally, we must resist Satan’s efforts for us to mix the truths of the Gospel as it pertains grace and the Law. To mix the two again leads to being unstable in our ways. To mix the Law with Grace denies us from experiencing the fullness of Christ and our Father’s love and further nourishes the deadly disease of pride from which separates us from God. Our call is to be single-minded by being well grounded in God’s Word, and with it, His command to listen to Christ, and only Christ. For He is the light and the truth. There is no other.