How Can You Avoid Being Double-Minded?
"When bad things happen, don't ask God 'Why?' Just believe God has everything under control, and don't panic on him," says Becca, 10.
It's easy to trust God when things are going smoothly. When the crisis hits without warning, faith is tested. James, the New Testament writer, is so confident in God's goodness he urges Christians to rejoice when they encounter difficulties. He knows that testing produces patience.
No, this isn't sticking your head in the sand and denying your troubles. Rather, it's expectant confidence in God's ability to use trials to develop character. If food were the subject, we could say God knows how to turn sour milk into Swiss yogurt with active, live cultures and fruit on the bottom.
"Being a double-minded person means to pray and you don't think God will answer it. Not being double-minded means to trust in God," says Luke, age unknown.
When a crisis hits, confusion can lead to despair. Wisdom, however, will give perspective to help us keep our balance during trials. God promises to give wisdom generously to those who are not double-minded but ask in faith (James 1:5-6).
We may never understand why some things happen. Instead of asking "Why?" ask "Who?" Who knows the depth of my pain? Who sees the bigger picture in my life? Who is interested in forming my character through various trials? God is the answer to all three questions.
"A person who is double-minded is a person who keeps on giving in to their cravings and can't make up their mind," says Matthew, age unknown. These cravings are called "lusts" in the book of James. Those who give in to lusts are "carried away" by them, says James.
As a body surfer, I know and respect the force of ocean undertows. Powerful ocean currents can sweep everything in their grip out to sea. Even the best swimmers can be rendered helpless.
Those who live by lusts lose control of their lives. They're like ocean swimmers who've been swept out to sea by a powerful rip tide. Once out to sea, the double-minded doubter of God is "like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind" (James 1:6). According to James, the pattern of destruction is doubt, temptation, lust and death.
"A double-minded person, I believe, is a person who will go to church and then go home, and all they care about is money, clothes, furniture, etc.," says Julianne, 12.
Some Christians have a timecard mentality. As long as they "go to church," they've done their duty to God. Your wife may be happy that you're sitting in a pew instead of a golf cart, but God wants more than that. He wants your love.
"A way to stop being a double-minded person is to quit thinking about gifts from God. The only real gift from God is his only son," says Robbie, 10.
Yes, Jesus is God's greatest gift. By believing in him, we enter into a relationship with him called eternal life.
Have you ever felt used in a relationship? If so, you probably felt degraded. God is no miser, but he resists those who ask him for things based on their lusts. Still, he's always ready to give good and perfect gifts to his children who love him and ask him. "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above" (James 1:17).
Think about this: For 33 years, Jesus lived with a single mind in total dependence upon his Father.
Memorize this truth: "I can of myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and my judgment is righteous because I do not seek my own will but the will of the Father who sent me" (John 5:30).
Ask this question: Who or what are you depending on?
Carey Kinsolving is a syndicated columnist, producer, author, speaker and website developer. To see more articles like this one, visit www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org/ColumnArchive.aspx. The Kids Talk About God website contains free, online content for children and families. See Carey’s Kid TV Interviews. Print free lessons from the "Kids Color Me Bible" and make your own book. Let an 11-year-old girl take you on a trip around the world in the Mission Explorers Streaming Video. Print Scripture verses illustrated by child artists. Receive a complimentary, weekly e-mail subscription to our Devotional Bible Lessons.
Bible quotations in this Bible lesson are from the New King James Version.
Copyright 2006 Carey Kinsolving