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Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Daily Devotional - A Confused Mind
f any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him. Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind. For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord, [for being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides]. —James 1:5–8
My friend Eva received a summons for jury duty in a robbery trial. For two days, twelve citizens listened to the prosecuting attorney as he presented evidence to indicate that the accused had broken into a home and stolen many items. Eva was ready to convict him.
On the third day, the defense attorney presented the other side of the picture. The more Eva listened, the more confused she became. What had seemed very obvious at first now seemed ambiguous and contradictory.
Although the jury did convict the man, Eva said she struggled over making the right decision. Each attorney, when he was speaking, had seemed to be the most convincing.
Many Christians live much the same way day to day. They have become what James calls double-minded. They’re sure of one thing until something else happens, and then they flip-flop to the opposite opinion.
In their double-mindedness, they flit from one opinion to the other. They’re sure they know what to do, and then they switch again. The moment they feel sure they have made the decision they plan to stick with, they begin to wonder if it was the correct one. They continually doubt and question their reasoning.
This kind of behavior is not the same as being open-minded. To be open-minded means we’re willing to hear all sides of an issue—like jurors should be at a trial. But eventually we have to sort through the evidence or the circumstances in life and say, “This is what I’m going to do.”
That sounds good, but too many people have trouble being decisive. “What if I make a mistake?” they ask. “What If I choose the wrong thing?” Those are legitimate ques¬tions, but they are not meant to paralyze God’s people and prevent them from acting. Too often, these are tools that Satan uses to distract and prevent Christians from taking action. I’m an expert on this. For many years, I was that double-minded person James wrote about. I didn’t like being that way. It took so much energy to keep rethinking the same problems. But I was so afraid of making a mistake that I didn’t know how to make good decisions. It took a long time before I realized that the devil had declared war against me, and that my mind was his personal battlefield. At that moment of awareness, I felt totally confused about everything, and I didn’t understand why.
So many of God’s people are living exactly where I was then. They’re reasonable people. That is, they have the ability to figure out causes and relationships and reasons. They sincerely try to understand all the implications of a situation and then find the most sensible or logical solution by putting their reasoning ability to work. Too often, this is where Satan sneaks in and steals the will of God from them. God may speak to them about doing a certain thing, and it may not always seem to be the most sensible course of action. This presents an opportunity for the devil to cause them to question—to become double-minded.
For example, sometimes I sense that God wants me to bless people by giving to them—often an item of jewelry or clothing. On occasion, God wants me to give away a new and fairly expensive dress that I’ve never worn. It doesn’t make sense when I go through the natural reasoning process, but when I open myself to the Spirit of God, I have the assurance that it is the right thing to do.
God’s Spirit is always available to free you from natural reasoning that leaves you confused. Ask of the One who gives wisdom liberally, and He will free you of being indecisive and double-minded.
Dear Father, in the past, I’ve been double-minded and confused, giving Satan an advantage over me. Please forgive me. I ask You now, in faith, to give me the necessary wisdom to overcome all of Satan’s confusion. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.