November 6, 2001 • By Ed Wrather
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded. - James 4:6-7.
In Garland, Texas, Sherman Jackson was on his way to church with his seven-year-old daughter a few weeks ago when a robber confronted him. Sherman had stopped for gas when a man walked up and asked for help. His car needed a jump-start and Sherman agreed to help him. However, it was not long before the man had his gun out demanding all the money Sherman had. The man was not satisfied with the money in Sherman’s money clip and became very agitated demanding more money. Sherman began to pray and witness to the robber. He gave the robber a Bible. The man gave back the money clip and the last Sherman saw of him he had a gun in one hand and a Bible in the other.
What a picture of the double minded! A man with a gun in one hand and a Bible in the other. An agent with a drug task force shared with me that he could not understand when they made raids why they would find dangerous drugs and at the same time open Bibles and other religious materials. There is an epidemic of the double minded. To be double minded is to attempt to follow two opposite and antagonistic courses of action at the same time. It is spiritual schizophrenia. The theologian, J. I. Packer, describes the condition in this way: “People who live compartmentalized [schizophrenic] lives worship God and go to church and do their 'religious' bit on Sundays; then they switch that off and pursue their professions, weekday work, weekend hobbies, and all their relationships as though these were matters entirely separate from their Christian commitment. They don’t even try to see their lives as a whole in terms of God and his Word. Instead they slip into their religious compartment on Sundays and their secular compartment of the other days of the week and allow no communication between the two.”
How can the double-minded change? James tells us “Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded.” To wash your hands deals with our physical outward actions. We must act right but in order to act right there must be a change of heart. Our hearts must be purified through our relationship with Jesus Christ. As the apostle Paul says in Romans 13:14 we must “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” or clothe ourselves with Jesus. It must be a constant relationship, a constant contact with the One, the only One that has the power to enable us for holy living. We cannot live the Christian life in our own power. We need help and Jesus is the only One who can help. “For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted (Hebrews 2:18).”