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When Two Minds Aren’t Better Than One

I am sure that you have heard of the saying that two minds are better than one. Not always true. Especially in the case that we are going to look at today.

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This blog post is part 53 of the series Seven Invisible Barriers to Spiritual Growth

Having two minds may be helpful when it comes to working out problems or building a better solution, but when it comes to faith having two minds is a disaster. Doubt is an invisible barrier that will block God’s generosity in your life.

The perfect person to help us understand this disaster is the Apostle James. He has written about a double-minded man and explains his dilemma in the first chapter of his letter that He wrote to the Jews scattered throughout the Roman Empire.

To be fair to the context, James is writing to people who are experiencing “various trials.” He speaks about trials as producing endurance which results in being perfect and complete lacking in nothing.

James then begins to talk about what is of great interest to us, a single-minded faith. He writes:

5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:5-8)

The Generous God

Our view of God impacts the way that we respond to God and His promises. There are a lot of false ideas about God that people place upon Him. Their view of God is generated by how they see God rather on the clear presentation of God in the Bible.

Look at the list below of false ideas about the Lord and think about how a person might approach God if they believed it to be true. Some see God as:

  • Angry
  • Harsh
  • Stingy
  • Critical
  • Judgmental
  • Uncaring

How would you approach God if you believed any of the things above? Would you have much confidence that He would answer your prayer? Would you even pray?

James tells us that we can come to God with two expectations. First that God is generous. Second, that God will not reproach us. Wonderful news.

God wants us to come to Him. He isn’t stingy. His supply of whatever we need never runs dry. God is always able to meet our needs and He can do it abundantly.

God is generous. One of His main characteristics is giving Himself to others. He has proven His generosity in sending Jesus to die for the sins of the world. The Apostle John tells us:

16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. (John 3:16)

God has proven His generosity in sending Jesus. There is no greater gift that we can receive than salvation through Jesus. God gave the ultimate gift. Why would He hold back on anything that He has promised? Of course, He wouldn’t.

God is the initiator of all of these good things. He sent Jesus. He gave us a new covenant. He gave us great and precious promises. He has given us all things pertaining to life and godliness. He gave yesterday and still today. He gives and gives and gives.

Giving Without Reproach

It seems that James believes that some of his readers might struggle to believe that God would be so generous and willing to give wisdom to them. He says that God will give wisdom without reproach.

Reproach is a harsh word where a person is looked upon as being at being at blame and is therefore publicly reproached. The one being reproached is shamed and reviled before the public resulting in a loss of esteem.

It would be hard to ask God for anything if you thought He would publicly humiliate and reprimand you. Who would dare to step out if that were the case? But it is not. God will give generously.

God is looking for those who will turn to Him with their whole heart. Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” God will not rebuke a person who is seeking Him. He will make Himself known.

Our view of God greatly affects the confidence we have as we approach Him. A wrong view of God will cause us to doubt Him and His desire to give us what He says He will give.

Ask in Faith

James says that we must ask God in faith without doubting. Our ability to have faith in God is directly linked to our view of God. A wrong view of God will hinder faith. A correct view of God will release our faith to believe God.

Let’s look at a couple of scriptures and then come up with a definition and understanding of faith:

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the men of old gained approval.(Hebrews 11:1-2)

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)

Dictionary.com defines faith as “complete trust or confidence in someone or something.” In our case it is a complete trust or confidence in God at every level. Faith includes the following five concepts.

Faith That God Exists

You must believe that God is, that He exists. What is important here is that we believe in the God of the Bible. Throughout history people have believed in millions of gods. This is no exaggeration. Hinduism believes in 300 million gods. These do not include the gods of Rome, Greece, or the various nations of the world.

Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one. (Deuteronomy 6:4).

I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no god. (Isaiah 45:5)

“You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servants whom I have chosen, so that You may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. Before Me there is no God formed, and there will be none after Me. I, even I, am the LORD, and there is no savior besides Me. (Isaiah 43:10-11)

The God of the Bible is unique. He is the God of Abraham. Isaac, and Jacob. There is no other God besides Him. He is the only true God. Uncreated and creator of all things.

The Bible clearly presents God as the only God. We are to believe in Him and Him alone.

So the first aspect of faith is to believe who God says He is and reveals Himself to be. Faith is in a person, God.

Faith in God’s Word

Faith is believing what God says. It means that we take Him at His word. Here are a few examples from Hebrews chapter eleven:

  • By faith, Noah believed God when he told Him to build the ark (v 7)
  • By faith, Abraham obeyed God by leaving the land of Ur when he did not know where he was going (v 8)
  • By faith, Abraham offered up Isaac believing that God would raise him from the dead because God promised that in Isaac His descendants would be called. (vs. 17-19)
  • By faith, Moses chose reproach with the children of Israel over being the son of Pharaoh's daughter. (vs. 24-26)

These are just four examples of how people believed the word of God. They placed their faith in what God had said to them. They had complete trust and confidence in God.

Faith in God’s Character

Faith is believing what God has said because of His proven character. God is faithful and trustworthy. When He says He will do something we can count on it.

God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoke, and will He not make it good? (Numbers 23:19)

For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying “I WILL SURELY BLESS YOU AND I WILL SURELY MULTIPLY YOU.” And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise. (Hebrews 6:14-15)

If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself. (2 Timothy 2:13)

Faith is believing in God’s faithfulness. Understanding that He will not lie to you is part of the unshakable foundation of trust.

Faith in God’s Ability

Faith also trusts that God is able to do what He says He can do. Faith believes that God can do miracles, signs, and wonders. If God says He will do something, He is able to do it.

And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

For the LORD of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it? And as for His stretched-out hand, who can turn it back? (Isaiah 14:27)

For nothing is impossible with God. (Luke 1:37)

Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me? (Jeremiah 32:27)

Faith is believing in God’s ability to what He has said.

Faith in His Desire to Do It

Faith also has to consider God’s willingness to do it for you. This is a huge part of faith. I know many people who believe in God, His Word, His character, and His ability, but stumble with believing that God would do it for them.

And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed, (Matthew 8:2-3)

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)

Faith believes that God is willing to do what He says. Faith understands that God rewards those who seek Him. God is not a respecter of persons. He will do for you what He will do for others.

Doubt: A Mind Divided

Whereas faith is certain doubt is uncertain. Doubt struggles to believe that God is, that His word is true, that He will do what He says, that He is able to do what He says, or that He wants to do what He says.

Doubt goes back and forth. Doubts goes up and down. For a moment there is great confidence in God and then the next there is little or no faith. The Bible calls this being double-minded.

Double-mindedness is like having one brain that says, “I believe” and another that says, “I don’t believe.” A double-minded person wavers back and forth. He is uncertain. He hesitates and struggles to believe.

The Bible says such a person is unstable in all their ways. They are like the waves in the sea that are blown to and fro. The mind is unstable, disorderly, and inconsistent.

Those who are double-minded should not expect to receive anything from God. Everything that God has made available to believers can only be obtained through faith.

Single-Minded Faith

The purpose of this post is to encourage you to believe in God. Take some time before the Lord and ask Him if there any areas of doubt that are negatively affecting your life. Be like King David. He asked the Lord to look into his heart to see if there was anything causing him harm. He said,

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; 24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way. (Psalm 139:23-24)

David trusted the Lord. He knew that God knew his heart and his thoughts. He believed that God would help him by showing him the things that were causing hurt in his life.

It takes courage to trust the Lord. He already knows the things that are causing harm. If you ask Him for His help He will not berate you. He will not publically bring shame and humiliation upon you. He will graciously show the things that are holding you back.

There is no one in this world that loves you more than God. There is no one that has proved their love and devotion to you than God. Take the next step in your growth in Christ. He will not fail you.

To sum it all up:

  • Believe that God is
  • Believe in His word
  • Believe that God is faithful and will do what He says
  • Believe that God is able to do what He says
  • Believe that God wants to do what He says for you

Remember God rewards those who diligently seek Him.

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About the Author

Terry Tuinder is the co-founder of Experiencing His Victory. His experience includes thirty-one years of pastoral ministry, an earned Doctor of Ministry degree from The King’s University, and nineteen years involvement in deliverance ministry. He helps people grow in their relationship with God.

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