Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Are You A Two-Souled Man?

Word Study: διψυχος

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:5-8, ESV)

The context is trials. Believers are to reason through a divnely aided intellectual process that results in the believer joyfully embracing trials. This joyfully embracing is a result of understanding the end result or purpose of the trials – steadfastness. It is steadfastness through trials which serves as the agent that God uses to mature his children.

Due to the severity, complexity, and anxiety experienced during trials a believer may not know how to appropriate God’s grace and means by which to remain steadfast. The remedy prescribed is to ask God for the necessary wisdom. Rather than worry or react unbiblicaly a child of God may ask his heavenly father for necessary wisdom. The believer is promised that first, God will give the needed wisdom, and secondly that God will not rebuke or criticize the believer who needs to ask. The believer is simply told to ask in faith. Doubting will result in the believer not receiving the necessary wisdom.

James tells us that this person, the believer who asks not in faith, but from a perspective of doubt is unstable. James describes this person as like a wave in the ocean that is pushed around by the wind. Believers who do not exercise faith are subject to being tossed around by the winds of doubt. James calls this person a double-minded man.

Double-minded has been called the most expressive words in this letter. It is only used twice in the New Testament, here and in chapter four, verse eight. It is possible that James “coined” this word. There is no evidence of its use prior to James’s letter.

Dipsuchos literally means “two-souled.” The expression gives us the idea of “a man two-souled.” It is a vivid picture of the doubter’s mind-set. It is a picture of a man who has two personalities that are in on-going conflict with each other. One mind is turned to God and the things of God and the other mind is turned to the world and its attractions. A man who is two-souled or double-minded believes God will answer his prayer but also disbelieves that God will answer his prayer because he is influenced to think like the world thinks. Heibert called this man a “walking civil war.” This man is trying to do the impossible and what Christ said He would reject – a man trying to walk in two directions.

This type of a man James says is actually unstable in all of his ways. This man is unstable because he is not settled on one conviction; God isn’t quite good enough to warrant his full attention, but the world isn’t what he wants either. He is trying to have his cake and eat it at the same time. It is like who was like Israel when they had one eye on God and one eye on Egypt. This man cannot stand without wobbling or wavering.

A two-souled man lacks a solid foundation. He is not resolute in anything. He shifts back and forth depending on what message he is hearing is loudest. One moment God may be influencing him but he is influenced by the philosophy of the world. This man cannot fully trust God because he is not fully committed to God.

This is why this man receives nothing from God. God will not give the necessary wisdom and where-with-all to withstand the trial and remain steadfast. Our will must rest in God’s will. In order to rest in God we must trust God explicitly. We must constantly reject the thought process of this world. Prayer is where this division is discovered and maintained – we reject the world and trust God because in prayer we are committed to God.


Anonymous said...

i don't want to be a "walking civil war" anymore. when i am ,i literally feel pushed around by the waves and the wind. Thank God He forgives me lack of trust, may I hear His voice louder than the world's. Thanks for the post, I needed to hear it!

welcome to my world of poetry said...

What a superb post Gregg, I am late doing my reading today but none the less this was up to your usual standard.


Lloyd said...

Thank you Gregg for this much needed message from God's Word. The only solid foundation that we can have is in our Lord Jesus Christ, anything else is sinking sand. God's blessing. Lloyd

Brad said...

This is such a good post, Gregg. Thank you. I find myself struggling against duplicity and hypocrisy quite often. It's tough to kill, particularly when it counterfeits true grace and wisdom so well.


We have not because we ask not. Such a simple thing to do... ask God. I wonder why most of us jump through all kind of hoops before we get to that point? To be in continual daily conversation with God is a wonderful way to live. It would save us a lot of anguish and worry.

Kansas Bob said...

Good stuff. Nothing like trials to shake our foundations.

AL said...

I think we all struggle with this to some extent. I think of the man in the Bible who told Jesus, "I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!"

We will not be sinless this side of heaven, but there should be a war against the flesh. And we should be trusting God more and more as we strive to be like Him, praying and asking for His strength in overcoming our sinful nature.

Tj Bw said...

Thank you for this post. I have been asked to speak on this passage and your break down was very helpful.