Double Minded | When We Draw Near to God
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James does not explain the details in a formula. He uses the term double-minded as a lifestyle – a label. So the answer is not in a particular formula.
The answer is in a lifestyle change, a new way of life… that is the one thing.
Is it better to try a particular diet for a while, or to commit to a life of healthy eating?
What is better, to try a particular workout or commit to exercise for the rest of our lives?
Is it better to cut up the credit card or to commit to a budget?
James gives us some lifestyle changes that will be rewarded by God
James 4.8-10 is framed with 2 conditional promises:
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (verse 8, NKJV)…
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. (verse 10)
From the way this is worded, the emphasis is on these 2 promises:
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. (verses 8-10)
drawing near comes from a couple Passages
…these people draw near with their mouths
And honor Me with their lips,
But have removed their hearts far from Me… Isaiah 29.13
Jesus repeats Isaiah in Matthew 15.7-9
James is quoting both Isaiah and Jesus.
Double-minded people can worship with their lips, but never draw near.
The focus is not on a formula for approaching God. With a formula, we have something to trust in instead of someone.
James is saying that when we draw near to God, it is not just what we do, but how we do it. We have to draw near with our whole heart.
When the desires of this world divide you, draw near.
When the wisdom of this world ensnares you, draw near.
When the love of this world entices you, draw near.
And when you draw near… He will draw near to you!
when we draw near, we draw near in humility
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. James 4.10
Earthly wisdom is fueled by “bitter envy and self-seeking,” or pride (James 3.14)
Remember in the Garden, the first sin was giving in to pride. Eve thought she would become more like God, and know more of the things that God knows, or right and wrong. All she had to do to become wiser was to eat.
The original sin was pride and envy, a jealous desire to become more like God.
They thought they would be like God, so they wouldn’t need Him anymore.
we live in a society that no longer needs God
We live in a nation where there is a separation of Church and state, even though it is not stated in any of our founding documents.
Our country removed God and prayer from schools in 1962.
Our science sees no proof of the Creator, yet we attempt to explain the universe.
We rely on doctors to help us who do not invite the Healer into the process.
We work with business models based on making a profit rather than on being good stewards of God’s resources.
Our philosophies of life are based on reasoning that exalts proof, or even a good argument, over Scripture.
We commit to marriages only with a good prenuptial agreement, instead of inviting God to make the marriage a covenant relationship.
Yet a majority of Americans claim to be Christians and up to 80% of Americans claim to pray.
What is wrong with us?
We live divided lives.
We live in a society that has systematically removed God from everyday life.
All of our knowledge and experience leaves no room for the Creator.
We have become prideful, not inviting God into our whole lives.
We have become divided, trying to maintain a half-hearted commitment to Him.
“My people are enticed by many things…”
I can almost hear the Holy Ghost raising this lament over distracted Christians in Western Europe and America.
We can’t cure double-mindedness on our own.
No one has the ability to rise up on their own.
We don’t have the ability to overcome our hypocritical lifestyle on our own.
We must return to God in true humility, invite Him into every area of our lives.
…and He will lift you up. James 4.10
Lucian Petrean | 05.07.2020 | pexels