Triumphant Life Ministries Newsletter              Vol. 14, No. 1                    September, 1997

 

DOUBLE-MINDED, TROUBLE-MINDED

James wrote (James 1:5-8 NKJV), “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  6But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.  7For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”  The ability to make wise, decisive choices, to set good goals and carry them out is a vital aspect of good mental, spiritual, and even physical health.  Receiving the  very best life God is willing to provide at any given time and avoiding unnecessary losses requires decision that is part of the sound mind that our Lord wants His children to have.  The stresses and complexities of modern living can challenge mental health and one’s sense of decision.

Anxiety is often the result of conflict, two opposite thoughts, desires, or impulses occurring at once.  Anxiety regarding public speaking, or performance anxiety, can reflect the desire of the speaker to gain approval of the audience while expecting their disapproval.  Social anxiety results from a similar conflict.  The desire to please God, others, or self combined with an angry desire to let them down produces anxiety.  The desire to engage in sinful or destructive behavior while desiring to avoid guilt and negative consequences likewise produces anxiety.

Double-mindedness can be caused by common temptations such as pride and self-centeredness, anger, depression, substance abuse, fear, coveting, and sin.  Noah, evidently the greatest spiritual leader of his time, got drunk with wine, at which time his son Ham sinned against him and was cursed by God.  Pharaoh repetitively refused to obey God’s command to let the Israelite slaves leave Egypt.  In his pride he asked (Exodus 5:2 NIV), “Who is the Lord, that I should obey Him?”  While refusing to let the Israelites go, he repetitively asked Moses to pray to God for him.

The Isrealites in the wilderness desired to live in the promised land of Canaan.  Ten of the twelve spies Moses sent to survey the land were so fearful of the large size of the Canaanites that they reported back to Moses that the Isrealites would not be able to take that land as God had directed.  Jonah, one of the great evangelists in history, became angry that God directed him to preach salvation to the city of Neneveh.  He ran away aboard a ship and was swallowed by a great fish for three days.  He submitted to God and preached to Neneveh, which accepted the message of salvation.  Afterwards Jonah’s anger led him to lie down in depression and wish for death.  King David, a spiritual leader of the Israelites, obviously loved the Lord.  He nonetheless allowed temptation to lead to sin with Bathsheba.  Judas followed Christ for three years as one of His ministers while stealing from him.  His greed and coveting finally led to his selling Christ to the Jewish leaders for thirty pieces of silver.

The same human temptations that caused conflicts, failures, and losses in Biblical times also occur today.  Such conflicts continue to rob people of receiving the good things our Lord desires to provide.  A strong sense of decision is essential to take authority over the naturally negative natural mind with its angry, depressive, self-centered, anxious, self-condemning, and sinful tendencies.  Decision is necessary to be of good character, to choose and maintain good relationships, to set and pursue good goals, and to commit one’s life to Christ and receive salvation along with all of the best that God wants to provide.

 

Joseph Luke Palotta, M.D.

Christian Psychiatrist

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