Are you unstable in your life? Even if a Christian, are you a walking contradiction at times? If so, you may be “double-minded” and up against something stronger than imagined. ♦
Do you have a compromised faith? Do you ever find yourself saying one thing and doing another? Do you ever have doubts about what you believe? Are you sometimes unsteady and wavering in both your character and feelings? Are you inconsistent in behavioral patterns of your Christian life? Do you have a sinful habit or thought-life obsession that you can’t let go? Do you sometimes feel powerless to change?
It’s difficult for many Christians to not say “Yes” to one or several of those questions. It is like being double-minded, conflicted like one caught between two choices often diametrically opposed, leading to instability (James 1:8, 4:8).
It’s not good. But it’s fixable – and so needs to be identified and addressed.
Plight of Man
Paul the Apostle acknowledges this dilemma and struggle of sinful Man:
For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it..although I want to do good, evil is right there with me…What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?…Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! – Romans 7:19-20
Many who claim Christ as their savior are caught in this tug-of-war of conflicting tension and live in guilt and discouragement. Like being in a headlock. This, in turn, leads to hopelessness. One can feel dejected, unworthy, hypocritical.
It’s time to stop beating yourself up and feeling like a Christian failure. Better to figure out how to fight the battle – for that’s what it is – a spiritual battle against significant strongholds, a fortress of considerable strength against your own heart, mind and soul.
As reformed sinners, susceptible to a relapse and a stumble off the proverbial wagon, let us learn to fight back and defeat a relentless Enemy that lurks and whispers in our ears seeking to destroy what God is working to fully restore and sanctify.
Webster’s dictionary says “double-minded” means torn between two points of tension, “undecided, vacillating,” a dilemma that may even be clearly divided between choices of good and evil.
While the term is used only once, there are several verses in the Bible that speak of this struggle:
- But each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. – James 1:14
- Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” – 1 Kings 18:21
- Then the Lord said, “Because this people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote.” – Isaiah 29:13
- “You are like whitewashed tombs that look beautiful on the outside but inside are full of dead people’s bones and every kind of impurity. In the same way, on the outside you look righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” – Matthew 23:27-28
- But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. – 2 Corinthians 11:3
- “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” – Matthew 6:24
In this light, it’s a universal struggle. King David faced it. Solomon and Saul did too. While the Israelites and Pharisees were called out for it, the apostles fell victim to it too.
You and I face it as well.
We know God; we know Jesus; we are infused with the Holy Spirit. Yet at times we sin and stumble and fall short, much to our chagrin, frustration, and even devastation from our personal failure.
But God is the God of second chances, of love, forgiveness, and restoration. He loves us and would have “that none should perish.” He died to redeem and restore what was lost. He restores and rebuilds our brokenness and patiently awaits our spiritual growth and maturity while helping us in confronting a world that can overwhelm us with powerful battlefronts, even strongholds.
If you search the word “stronghold” in the Scriptures you will find a long list of Old Testament verses in which this term is used in the context of a protected location of strength. Webster defines it as “a fortified place; a place that has been fortified so as to protect it against attack.”
In a spiritual sense, strongholds can be citadels of good or evil. Negative strongholds are beyond our normal faculties to confront. Walls of strong fortresses do not come down without the help of God’s spiritual power. Like the walls of Jericho. Joshua won the battle against a fortified/walled city only through the supernatural power of God (Joshua 6). The strongholds we face that can drive our double-mindedness are like walled fortresses that represent dark sin, habits and propensities toward evil, lust, selfish desires and distractions in our mental and physical lives.
If we allow them, they can run amok in our life. And if we even open the door that has been shut for some time, we can go back to places and behavior long since decried.
So how do you stay out of the darkness? How do you not go back to sin in thought or deed? How do you not waffle in inconsistent faith and daily walk?
Here are 5 keys to fighting strongholds and staying “single-minded:
- Know Yourself – know your wounds, past sin and weaknesses.
- Cover in Prayer – pray, and have others pray for God’s protective covering over you.
- Surrender Yourself – turn yourself in to God, like a captured convict, submit yourself to the ultimate Authority.
- Confess to God – get on your knees and confess your sins, struggles, and confusion to God who loves you.
- Go Forth – go and sin no more, knowing that while you are in the process of being made perfect, you have a loving Good Father who walks with you in your imperfect earthly humanity.
This is serious business and should be taken that way. Cut yourself some slack; but don’t let yourself off the hook. The good news is that there is hope and spiritual power available to us from our loving Father and saving Redeemer.
Are you double-minded and struggling with strongholds?
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses (or strongholds). We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. – 2 Corinthians 10:3-5