During one season, I was experiencing an intense doubt in believing God and that His promises and leadings would come to pass in my life. I was afraid to step into my calling due to the fear of man. Finally, one day it came to a head. I was in the dumps, miserable, unbelieving, and untrusting—and there is no joy or peace when choosing not to trust God, I’ll tell you that! On this day, the battle was thick.
I probably should have sought God more personally, but instead, I took the easy way out and called my aunt. She and Jesus are very close; she submits her whole life to Him. Well, God knew I would fail in my faith, and “The Great Set Up” was about to begin. She answered after a few rings, but before I could say a word, my aunt relayed an intense dream she had the night before. In her dream, she had two heads. She had to take a sword and cut off one of the heads. It was gruesome. My aunt is sweet and kind and cutting anything but chicken for dinner is horrific for her! This was a prophetic picture of double-mindedness and was a modern-day parable, sent by God, to set me free. I was going to need to cut off the second head in the next season of my life if I wanted that freedom! And so will you!
James wrote that those who doubt are like “a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind,” and they are “double-minded” and “unstable.” The word “double-minded” comes from the Greek word dipsuchos (Strong’s G1364, G5590) and means, “to be two-souled or two-headed and two-minded, wavering, uncertain, or having a divided interest/loyalty.” In short, to doubt or be double-minded is to have two minds on a matter, two loyalties and to waver between two opinions.
I think of Elijah who said to Israel, "How long will you waver between two opinions. If the Lord is God serve Him. If Baal is God serve Him." (1 Kings 18:21) It was an appeal to the undecided; to those who were invested in both gods but loyal to neither.
What are some common examples of double-mindedness? Perhaps you want to move forward in your dreams but are afraid of numerous unknowns. You may want to get out of debt and make commitments to do so, but then overspend repeatedly because items you wanted are now on sale. You daily commit to losing weight but then binge before the day is out. You decide you want to be a better parent but keep picking up your phone and extensively view your social media. Maybe you are feeling to go into ministry but you are afraid that God won’t provide. Or you have a dream on your heart but you poll others around you because you are full of doubt and crave safety or have a man-pleasing mindset.
Double-mindedness will always pull you away from your loyalty to God and cause you to waver regarding the right actions you want to take in life. It can cause you to feel confusion, anxiety, discouragement, unbelief, and doubt in God. It is with the heart one believes, for the heart is where God places His gift of faith. If Satan can divide your heart, he can divide your faith, cause you to waver in unbelief, and keep you out of your destiny.
James vividly describes the double-minded person using imagery of a surging wave, tossed back and forth by the wind. The person whose loyalty is divided both affirms and denies God’s truth. The New Bible Commentary calls this inner cleavage to two loyalties “doubt.” Those who doubt rise to the heavens to receive the promise—but they plunge to the depths, equally sure it will not be fulfilled. James taught that followers of Jesus should not be double-minded, believing God one minute and doubting Him the next and explained how double-mindedness creates instability in a person’s life. He paints for us a strong word picture of this internal battle of divided loyalty:
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.— James 1:5-8, NKJV
James explains to us that the root of double-mindedness is in the purity of the heart and that it is up to us to purify it:
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.— James 4:7-8, NKJV
James declared that if you, as a believer, resist Satan, he must leave. The best model for resisting the devil is Jesus. When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, He fought the battle with the Word of God. He puts His Father’s will and His people’s needs above His own desires by using the Word of God to cut off the second head, with its loyalties and temptations. The writer of Hebrews affirmed the power of the Word of God to fight the enemy:
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.— Hebrews 4:12, NASB
Before you get discouraged about double-mindedness and purifying your heart, consider these delicious rewards the Lord has waiting for you.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.— Matt. 5:8, NASB
Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him and said concerning him, See! Here is an Israelite indeed [a true descendant of Jacob], in whom there is no guile nor deceit nor falsehood nor duplicity!— John 1:47, AMP
Nathanael was pure in heart, no deceitfulness of sin and no duplicity. Duplicity means two-faced, two-timing, playing both sides, and double-minded. His purity of heart earned him a personal, one on one encounter with Jesus Christ. Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing. The Father showed Jesus Nathanael under a tree because before Nathanael had even heard of Jesus, the Father had already set up the reward; seeing God - The Son, Jesus Christ. That’s quite a reward! God is no respecter of persons. What He does for one child, He will do for another. It is in the bible to show you what's available to you and His willingness to do it.
Here's a little link with Mark Virkler, international leader and influencer on hearing God's voice and receiving with ease. Enjoy!
Reflect with the Holy Spirit
- Lord, am I trying to medicate doubt with constant encouragement?
- Lord, where is my heart obedient and soft to You?
- Tell me more about the race You have marked out for me.
- Am I willing to cut off any second head/ mistress wooing my away heart from You? Even if it has had some benefits for a season? Your word says You put in us the will to do and to act according to Your good pleasure (Phil. 2:13). I give you permission to put into me the will to do and the power to act!
- Lord Jesus, will you help me forgo all the benefits a mistress can bring and return to my pure and simple devotion to You, my First Love? Assure me and give me a confirmation of Your pleasure to do this in my life.
This teaching devotional is part of a series based on Tyrelle Smith's book: From Double-Minded To Destiny. Each week we will publish more on how you can remove doubts and insecurities and fulfill God's plan for your life in a greater way.
Curious about next week's topic? Tyrelle will share how Jesus set her free from her an eating disorder and filled her life with freedom and new purpose and how He can do it for you!