The church I attend has welcomed a fairly large number of students from a variety of backgrounds and countries. Most seem quite excited at the prospect of university life ahead of them. There’s a buzz of excitement as they chat together, making new friendships. They are all at different stages of faith, some confident and others more cautious, even a little fearful. My prayer for them in our small groups on Sunday evening was simply that they wouldn’t compromise their faith to relativism, but would stand firm on the word of God.
Compromise in the Bible is likened to double-mindedness. I’ve been going through the book of James during the last few days, and have been struck afresh on the warnings about double-mindedness. We’re clearly told that how we pray is of prime importance. If we ask God for one of His greatest gifts - wisdom, but don’t believe He will give it to us, we won’t receive it, for we’re double-minded (James 1:5-8).
Simply hearing God’s word and taking it as information, rather than truth to obey, is another sign of double-mindedness. Even more, it’s self-deception (James 1:22). There’s no such thing as selective obedience. We either live our lives in humble obedience to the truth of God’s word, or we despise it.
Desiring to please people, because we want them to like, accept or include us, can cause us to say one thing and mean another (James 3:9 & 12). This makes us self-seekers rather than God-pleasers. Double-mindedness is not simply to do with how we think, it’s a heart issue, and the remedy is always a change of heart. The psalmist asked God to teach him His way, and enable him to walk in God’s truth with an undivided heart, so that he’d fear God’s name (Psalm 86:11). To fear God in this way means to put obedience which honours Him before anything else in the world.
Double-minded people are pulled in different directions, and have divided priorities. They compromise the highest for something of lesser value, and, in consequence, sacrifice peace of heart and mind – the parting gift of Jesus to those who follow Him (John 14:27). Inner peace can be ours, whatever may be going on in the world, and whatever personal troubles we face. We need not have a troubled heart, if our minds are set on Jesus.
Our text for today exhorts us to be single-minded, and to set our minds on things above. In practical terms for today, this means don’t let your mind go after the false things of the world. Hide God’s word in your heart by meditating on it daily, and, in good times and difficult times, remember that you were born for eternity to be with Jesus for evermore. A single-minded person stands out as different, because obedience to Jesus is the governing principle of their life.
Prayer: Teach me Your way, O Lord, and I’ll walk in Your truth. Give me an undivided heart that I may fear Your name. May the mind of Christ my Saviour live in me from day to day, by His love and power controlling all I do and say. Please Lord, cleanse me from every trace of double-mindedness, and put a right spirit within me. For the glory of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
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