The earthly brother of Jesus is similar to the main character in a modern film. James finds himself struggling to come to grips with his past. Despite watching his older brother grow up to become the greatest spiritual of the first century, James began to listen to Jewish religious leaders. Based upon the confessions within his epistle, James’ mind was poisoned by the elders from local synagogues. This led to a double mind and a subsequent double life.
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. 7 For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord, 8 [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.
When you are young, it’s easy to be persuaded by classmates and peers with strong personalities. Depending upon who you end up talking with, hanging around and joining at a lunch room table, you may find yourself in a moral dilemma, Psalm 1:1-2. Do you go with the flow of the crowd or do you stand up for what you believe? James compares this to the wind and waves which intensity from a storm, often coming out of no where. When the weather changes quickly, will you waver or stay true to who you are and what you believe?
Come close to God and He will come close to you. [Recognize that you are] sinners, get your soiled hands clean; [realize that you have been disloyal] wavering individuals with divided interests, and purify your hearts [of your spiritual adultery], James 4:8.
If you find yourself in a free fall, living a double life, James provides valuable advice in the passage above. In my final 2 years of college, I was a strong Christian when a new semester began, only to fall away from the Lord each summer. The temporary treasures of the world had become so attractive that my double mind led to a double life. This all came to a crossroad when I broke my ankle playing sand volleyball just before my senior year of college. Stuck in bed for my final weeks of my last summer as a student, I began to use James 5:16 as an outline for prayer. My double mind didn’t go away immediately, but over time a contrite heart helped me withstand this spiritual storm.
by Jay Mankus