Following Christ gets complicated when we try to live by the standards of this world: Work hard. Dream big. Solve life’s problems with good sense and hard work. Measure your worth by your success.
James points us to another reality—a different power source. A God who cares. Who answers prayers. Who does for us what we cannot do for ourselves: When you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is… double-minded and unstable in all they do (James 1:6-8).
Ask. Believe. But be sure to resist doubt, says James. Easier said than done. Sometimes, living in two worlds can get very complicated.
The Greek word translated “ask” also means “to pray.” James knew a thing or two about prayer. His reputation as a man of fervent prayer earned him the nickname “camel knees.” The oldest half-brother of Jesus, he was an eye-witness to the resurrection. James became the leader of the believers in Jerusalem. The book of James is thought to be written shortly before he was martyred.
Who better to teach us to stand firm in our faith? To believe and not doubt. To resist the dangers of being double-minded.
Double-minded, or dipsychos, describes someone who has “two minds.” That’s the very definition of complicated, according to Spiros Zhodiates, PhD, editor of the Key Word Study Bible. I lovingly call this my “Big Fat Greek Bible.” It’s my personal favorite!
Let’s take a few minutes to read and reflect on these verses from James in the Amplified version:
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 1:6-8 AMP).
Wow. These verses challenge me to believe when I pray. They warn me about the dangers of doubt. I’m letting the words sink deep. Searching my heart for unbelief. Repenting of doubt. When it comes to my faith, maybe it’s time to stop being so complicated.