Tossed by the Wind

James 1:5-8 ESV

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

What does it mean to be “double-minded”? It means to be of two minds, to be wavering, to be of two souls, of two selves, like a person who is split in half, like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He is a person who vacillates back and forth between two opinions, and two characters, and two gospels (doctrines of salvation), also. He is like someone on both sides (or ends) of a teeter-totter (seesaw). And he fluctuates up and down from one side to the other.

So, a person who is double-minded may ask God for wisdom but then he doesn’t usually wait around for the answer, for he has already moved on to the other side. Or he doesn’t really want to hear the answer, probably because he already knows what it is, but he keeps hoping that if he keeps asking that eventually the answer will change, but it never does because our God does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17).

Perhaps it makes him feel as though he is going to appear righteous and sincere if he asks the Lord for wisdom. But God knows his heart. He knows he is not sincere, and he knows that he has no intention of obeying the Lord and that it is all for show. So he is a lot like the Pharisees of Jesus day who made an appearance of righteousness on the outside but who were full of wickedness on the inside. They professed one thing but lived another.

Sometimes these outward and false displays of righteousness are a coverup for wicked and evil hearts and behaviors, usually done in secret. Perhaps the double-minded convince themselves that they can be believable on the outside long enough to throw others off the scent so that others do not suspect them of the evil they really are engaged in. For they are usually skilled at trickery, deception, conniving, and manipulation.

Now God wants to impart his wisdom to the ones who seek him in truth and who believe him and who are willing to do what he says to do. But the conniving, the manipulative, and the double-minded should not suppose they will receive anything from the Lord, for they are unstable in all their ways, and they don’t believe God, and they don’t really believe the Scriptures, and they don’t really believe God will punish them in hell.

James 1:13-15 ESV

“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”

I don’t know of anyone personally, that I can recall, who believes that they are being tempted by God to sin. At least they would not word it that way. But I have known and I do know people who blame God for their sins, as though it is his fault that they are still living in addictive sin and that they have not yet been delivered out of their slavery to sin. And this is largely because those addicted to sin will typically blame someone other than themselves. They will not usually take personal responsibility for their sins.

I have heard many different excuses from addicts for why they are still living in addiction to sin and for why they are not yet living victoriously over sin. And I am speaking of those professing faith in Jesus Christ. So many of them are still living in sinful addiction. And one of the biggest excuses I hear repeatedly is, “I didn’t know,” or “I don’t know how to be free,” when they do know how. So they are not short on knowledge but on obedience.

They will claim ignorance, sure, but then they also claim, “it takes time.” Yes, the process of sanctification is a lifetime process but it is a process, meaning that something is changing, if one step at a time, still something is different and the person is making progress in the right direction one step at a time, and they are becoming less and less like their former self and more and more like Jesus as each day passes.

But they can’t be remaining at status quo or going back and forth like on a teeter-totter, not sure if they really want to obey the Lord, and still craving the sinful desires of the flesh. For you cannot walk in sin and not in obedience to the Lord as a matter of practice and be a child of God and have the promise of heaven when you die (1 John 3:4-10). You have to choose what side you want to be on and then stay there until Jesus returns.

Now, I am not saying that a true believer in Jesus, at some point in his life, could not wander from his faith and fall back into sin. The letters to the churches in Revelation 2-3 alone give indication of God’s people falling back in sin (not all of them) and needing to come to repentance and to renewed walks of faith in Jesus Christ. But then with those calls for repentance are also dire warnings of judgment if they refuse to repent.

James 1:19-21 ESV

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”

We, as followers of Jesus Christ, are to no longer walk in sin. Sin should no longer be what controls us and what determines the choices that we make. Now we should be living under Holy Spirit control. Therefore, we are to put away from our lives all sin which so easily clings to us so that we can run with perseverance the race God has marked out for us to run (Hebrews 12:1-2).

So, all moral filth and wickedness and sexual immorality and adultery and idolatry, etc., need to be put out of our lives. And we are to receive the word of God into our hearts and lives, as applied to our daily lives, so that we have salvation of our sins and of our souls for eternity.

And we need to be people who take God and his word seriously, who believe that he will bring the judgments he threatened if we do not repent of our sins and if we do not walk in obedience to his commands (New Covenant). For the Scriptures do not teach “once saved always saved.” They teach progressive salvation which will not be complete until Jesus returns for his bride and he takes us to be with him forever, provided we continued in obedient walks of faith and not in sin, and until the very end.

[Matt 7:21-23; Jn 8:31-32,51; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:1-12; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Col 1:21-23; 2 Tim 2:10-13; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 5:9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:1-5; 1 Pet 2:24; 2 Pet 1:5-11; 2 Pet 2:20-22; 2 Tim 1:8-9; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,15-17,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10,24; 1 Jn 5:2-3; 2 Jn 1:6; Jas 1:21-25; Eph 4:17-24; Jude 1:1-25; Lu 9:23-26]

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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