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What is Being Double-Minded? 2 Important Faith Lessons from the Book of James

Mary Armand

(Photo: Unsplash)

It was the fall of 2018. An excited newly certified nurse practitioner, I finally completed my post-master program, the culmination of a dream many years in the making. I was thankful to be done with school and ready to start my life’s next assignment.

In fact, several years prior God had told me exactly where I would be working once I finished school. There was only one problem, I was still waiting to get the job.

It took a study of the book of James for me to realize being double-minded may be the issue!

Double-Minded? Insight From the Book of James

As I went through my final semester of school I started to get antsy. I understood beginning a job as a healthcare provider would take time, but I was not ready for no offer to be presented and no progress at all. I wanted to line things up for what I anticipated to be my next chapter and move forward.

During that summer I searched for jobs, emailed colleagues, and spoke to the clinic where I wanted to work on several occasions. My program came to an end, I passed my exam, received my license from the state, and was fully ready to practice by summer’s end, but despite my efforts, I remained jobless.

Throughout this season I prayed fervently and often that God would open doors, and open my eyes to the right opportunities. I could feel his presence and see him going before me because several temporary opportunities popped up, and I was grateful for those.

But the long-term job that I yearned for had yet to materialize. So, I kept praying and searching, repeatedly.

In the meantime I felt obliged to continue in my current hospital nursing role, being mentally done with but financially tied to the job. I tried to be grateful for my many blessings, but my desire to get to the next thing outweighed that gratitude, and my attitude started to show it.

Discouragement crept in as time dragged on, and that brought along doubt.

Why would God tell me all those years ago that there was a specific place for me, see me through the training process of being ready to take on that job, and then not put me in the job?

It was during this time I began to get frustrated and started to search more desperately for alternatives.

I began to think maybe I had been wrong in what I thought God‘s plan was for me. Maybe I had somehow messed up and he had changed his mind.

Then one day I heard a message from the book of James.

girl with hands on head-double-minded

What Does Being Double-Minded Mean?

The pastor talked about being double-minded and how God cannot honor the heart that is led by a divided mind.

Being double-minded means you claim to believe one thing, and part of you believes that, but there’s another part that doubts and those doubts manifest in your thoughts and actions.

I realized the problem in my scenario was not God’s unwillingness to act, it was my unwillingness to wholeheartedly believe. I was claiming to know what God‘s plan was for me, to believe he would do what he said he would do, but at the same time worried he wouldn’t come
through.

I was trying to orchestrate my own backup plan. You know, just in case.

When I realized my mindset was the issue, I knew I had to change. I decided to stop hoping what God had promised me would come true and start believing it already was.

And wouldn’t you know it, within a few days I received an email that led to an interview, and then a job offer for the same position that God had told me was already mine?

Faith Building Lessons

I learned two valuable, faith-building lessons from being double-minded.

2 Lessons about Being Double-Minded

For starters, patience is certainly a virtue, and God is the most virtuous one of all. We like to talk about God‘s timing and our need for patience, but sometimes God is patiently waiting on us.

You can’t fully walk into what he has planned for you with a half-baked heart. Sometimes the thing hasn’t happened because he needs you to get right first and resist being double-minded.

And perhaps the most important lesson for me was God is always faithful, even when we are not.

The Lord does work in mysterious ways at times, but sometimes He is waiting for you to realize He is the way, and there is no need for you to make a way yourself.

The solution to the mysterious work of God is sometimes as simple as overcoming being double-minded with wholehearted obedience.

“But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the
sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the
Lord, he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does,”

James 1:6-8 NIV

open book-double-minded

A Bible Study on the Book of James

You see, it was my doubts that were throwing me off track, not God’s decision not to act.

Without faith, the book of James says we cannot expect to receive. I often hope for the best, rather than trusting the God of hope to do what is best in every circumstance, for my good and his glory.

I pray that you, friend, would read these words and my experience and let them encourage you to have all-in, fully baked faith.

When doubts creep in (being double-minded), recognize them quickly, and turn to the God who can help your unbelief.

When circumstances are not going the way you anticipated, step back and consider whether God is waiting on your full trust before he entrusts you with your next Kingdom assignment.

Then, when your doubts have been rebuked and your trust renewed, witness his work in your life as only he can, for your good and his glory.

A rebuking of being double-minded is only one of the many things James refuses to excuse in his book, and you can find more in the Bible Study, “No Excuses: a Bible Study of the Book of James.”

If you felt a stir with this topic, you should dive in further and read the book of James. It addresses being double-minded and many other topics for spiritual growth.

We would love to hear your comments about being double-minded and how the book of James has helped you!

book and butterflies-double minded

This post was originally published on ButterflyLiving.org.

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