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he is a double-minded man; unstable in all his ways. (James 1:8)
The Greek word here (δίψυχος dipsuchos) translated double-minded occurs only here and in James 4:8 in the Greek NT. It is possible that James coined the term. It literally means “two-souled.” It refers to a person who is uncertain about every path before him and every decision before him. Not only that, but it refers to an indecisive person, dual thinking, which are in opposition to each other. Furthermore, it is a man who is pulled from his fleshly side over against his spiritual side. The person walks between two worlds, one his faith, the other, the fallen flesh. He is moved by his desires, not his commitment to God. This man goes from an obedient servant of God to following his imperfect fleshly desires in a moment’s notice. God has no use for such a person in this state.
This man is “unstable (ἀκατάστατος akatastatos) in all his ways.” The Greek “unstable” denotes here the sense of a person who lacks stability, endurance, persistence, steadiness, resoluteness, determination. He has no self-control. While here, James refers to praying in faith, but the double-minded unstableness is really applicable to his life in general, that is, “in all his ways.” This is why God does not answer a double-minded man because he is unstable in all his ways. An unstable person who is two-souled is often too unable to be trusted because of the constant changing of his mind. A two-souled person is one who usually has divided loyalties: in one moment, they desire God, and in the next moment, they are engaged in the acts of the flesh and never decide between the two. God is looking for the man firmly grounded in his faith, who feels the most profound and inward certainty that God will hear his prayer when he prays. This man does not hesitate to go to God in prayer, regardless of the level of difficulty he is facing. He never wavers, as he is steadfast and biblically grounded in his integrity, courage, and determination to walk with God rightly throughout his life. God is looking for a man of good character, whom he understands, and in whom he can place his trust.
So, just who is the doubter, and what does it mean to be double-minded? We have defined these terms already, but to reiterate, a person cannot give up Satan’s world that they were born into to truly become a follower of Jesus Christ. He is torn between two worlds: his sinful flesh and a willingness to obey God. Again, he is unwilling to abandon Satan’s world to ultimately become a disciple of Jesus. This mindset is flourishing among the so-called, supposed, professed Christian of the 21st-century, who view the church as a social gathering, or some motivational tool. They do not study and prepare for Christian meetings, participating when opportunities present themselves. Their only evangelism is arguing with other Christians on social media in the presence of unbelievers about different theological views. They do not truly let God’s Word guide their lives.