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The Double-minded Man

Endre Flaisz, 2411.2007

The Scriptures make a distinction and even a contrast between the spirit and the soul. Our heart and spirit is the place where we meet and communicate with the Lord while we're in touch with the perceptible outside world through our soul. Christians tend to forget that they have a soul as well. However, if the "entrance," our soul, is packed with heavy pieces of furniture which block the way to the "guestroom," our spirit and heart, this will have an impact on welcoming the guests, namely, on our spiritual life.

One of the differences between our Spirit and our soul is that our Spirit is of supernatural origin, while our soul is of natural origin.


Our soul manifests itself in our behavior, attitude, style and way of thinking and it's essentially shaped by three factors.

  • The first one is genetically inherited tendencies and inclinations which, in a way, determine our character through our blood.
  • The second one is our education, which in an optimal case, is able to limit our inclinations so we become capable of living a social life.
  • The third factor is represented by the demons who try to bind certain parts of our soul and enforce thoughts, emotions and behaviors that we wouldn't have otherwise.


Of these three factors, the most fundamental ones are the inclinations inherited from our ancestors - the Bible calls that sinful nature, "old self" or "carnal self." Apostle Peter considered these inclinations "empty", referring to the fact that compared to eternity, the characteristics of the human soul are useless, even those features are useless that can be otherwise beneficial for our life on earth. "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life [anastrofh: inclination, behavior] handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a Lamb without blemish or defect." (1 Peter 1:18-19)


If we take Peter's words literally, he talked only about the dispositions inherited from our ancestors (anastrofh) rather than our life in general. However, in a way, the translators of the Bible were right in translating "inclination" as "life" since after a while, these inclinations, of course, start to manifest themselves in one's everyday life: recurrent desires and daydreams will become reality in due time.


The Greek word, "psyche", reflects the relationship between the dispositions of the soul and one's destiny even better. This Greek expression refers not only to the human emotions, thoughts and will that is one's soul, but also to the complete process when in the course of time the dispositions of the soul develop into a human career and destiny. The Greeks believed that the desires and dispositions of the soul inspire people to express and realise these desires, therefore, it was evident for them that after a while, dispositions evolve in one's life and destiny. Consequently the expression, "psyche," inseparably integrates soul and destiny.

Without this connection it's difficult to understand why exactly the Apostles designated the evolving apostasy in the second generation of early Christianity to be in the scope of the soul. However, before we examine it we must say one more thing regarding these inclinations.


When we talk about such an inclination and behavior which is against God`s will, it's not only the destructive and sinful desires such as fornication or hate we think of. But, if we think about it, not only these expressly sinful propensities can turn a man against God's will.


On one occasion, for instance, a young man went to Jesus to say he would like to live a life which is more acceptable by God. Then Jesus told him to sell of all his properties and follow Him, however, this young person was unable to do that. Though, according to the Law of Moses, he had not committed any notable sin, it was obvious that because of his decision, he turned against the will of God and the destiny and walk of life that God appointed for him. He kept himself away from the Divine plan in the scope of his life because he preferred the calm and quiet countryside lifestyle on a homestead rather than the `revolutionary' lifestyle which he would have had, if he had chosen Jesus. He wanted to fit God's will into such a "farmer" lifestyle like all of his ancestors had probably been living for many generations on the same farm. Even though the Bible never mentions this manner of living in itself as a sin, this young man's wish for the aforementioned lifestyle became an obstacle along the way to the perfect will of God concerning his personal calling and destiny.


A person can only be truly happy if he is in the place where God wants to see him.


It is important to talk about this because according to the Bible, a man can be truly happy only if he is at the place where God wants to see him and if he implements those "tasks of life" to which God has ordered him. If someone isn't able to occupy this place for some reason, deep in his heart there will be a space that remains empty even if all the other parts of his life are successful and blessed. Unfortunately, when one is in such a situation, the feeling that something's missing or a feeling of frustration generally doesn't make him realise that his own inclinations are turning him away from God's will, but he then tries to find mistakes in other persons and becomes offended at every little thing. This alienation process is completed by creating a sort of theology from his imagined or realistic offenses, and the person explains to himself why he's entirely right if he leaves his church and later, the Lord.


Jesus thought these inclinations were very important and had an impact not only on our whole life but on our eternal life as well, so He talked about this several times. He usually finished this subject with the words, `For whoever wants to save his life [psyche] will lose it, but whoever loses his life [in Latin: psyche] for Me and for the Gospel will save it.` (NIV Mark 8:35) It's implicative in itself that Jesus used these expressions so often. (Ex.: Mathew 10:39, Mark 8:35, Luke 9:24, John 12:25.) The reason we see these words so frequently in the Bible is not because the same event was noted down by four different authors but because Jesus thought it was such an important thing and He spoke of it in several locations to different audiences. Although at first sight this message hasn't got any connection with the human soul, if we study it more deeply, we can see that in place of the expression for "life" in the original context the Latin word "psyche" appears in each case, which as we know means a man's destiny evolved from desires (which Peter called empty).


In light of this, however, the essence of Jesus's message sheds light on the alienation process deriving from the previously mentioned inclinations which in the long run, can lead one to complete apostasy. According to this, if one clings to the inclinations in his soul that oppose God's will, one can accomplish his dreams in the short term and can live a life that one imagined for oneself.


However, in the long term, a feeling of emptiness will form in one's heart, which one will try to compensate for by blaming others and as a consequence, one will become more and more estranged from the Lord.


In other words, considering a whole life, or even observing human fate from the perspective of eternity, one pays a high price for living as the desires of his soul dictated because one risks losing salvation due to inner alienation from God even if the desires that distanced one from the will of God are not sinful.


On the other hand, if one is able to say ‘no' to inclinations, inherited from one's father, which aim to separate one from the will of God and is also able to say ‘no' to the lifestyle which will develop from this, then in the short term one may have to give up some things, but looking at one's fate in the long term, one can not only be a satisfied and happy person but - and this is even more important - can also save one's soul for eternity. Therefore, in a man's soul not only can those inclinations be futile - according to Peter's words -, which drag us into some deadly sin as soon as we follow them, but we may also have inherited many inclinations from our ancestors that do not seem sinful at first sight, but in the long run they can push us to sin or even to final separation from God.


The Double-minded

During rebirth, in essence, these rotten desires and vain inclinations of ours were weakened by the Holy Spirit, in order that we could live a new life that is pleasing to God. This work of the Holy Spirit makes it possible for us to fulfill the great commandment, which according to Jesus is the following: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." (Matt. 22:37)


At the moment, we are primarily interested in the middle part of this commandment, which tells us to love the Lord with the wholeness of our souls as well, in other words, with all our emotions, our entire mind and our entire will. Therefore the will of God is that our souls follow our spirits after the new birth and go in the same direction our hearts and spirits are already going. It means being set free from the prison of worldly desires and orienting in its entirety towards the Lord and those things that are kind to Him.


When a Christian person nourishes desires in one or another area of his soul that contradict the will of God, this person does not fulfill the great commandment because he loves the Lord with only one part of his soul and not with the whole of it, while with another part of his soul he loves other, worldly things. These Christians are called ‘double-minded' by James: "That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded [dipsychos] man, unstable in all he does." (James 1:7-8)


Since in case of double-mindedness the principle applies too, that desires in one's soul come to fruition in one's life, deeds and fate, in time the initial two sorts of desires will manifest in two lives, running parallel to each other.This way the double-minded person loves the Lord and goes to church on the one hand, but on the other hand slowly develops another life which excludes God completely and which is entirely unacceptable from the Bible's point of view.


This deterioration does not happen from one day to another but it starts with a little daydreaming.


Of course this deterioration does not happen from one day to another but it starts with a little daydreaming in one of the hidden corners of one's soul. There are Christians who go to church regularly, do not commit any sin and lead a so-called exemplary life, they praise the Lord in the services, but when they go home, they virtually give rein to a secret part of their soul and fantasize about things that the Bible considers sinful. In the beginning they have no intention to commit these sins. Adultery and and other similar serious sins - of which unfortunately we hear more and more in the church - never evolve in a person from one day to another. It is more likely that the seeds had been sown several years earlier. When someone was not reading the Bible, did not spend his time praying and was not listening to a sermon in church, he started daydreaming, fantasizing about something that he considered as sin and did not want to and did not dare to commit in reality.


Experience in pastoring show that if a person listens to the Word of God reagarding his sinful fantasies but does not commit himself to repent from these illegal daydreams with all his spirit, soul and physical strength, in the course of time his moral resistance will weaken and he will loosen up to commit that sin first in secret, then more and more openly. The more one puts off the complete and radical elimination of such an imaginary sin, the stronger it will become.


It is the nature of sin that every time it manifests itself in the imagination, the heart, the soul and the acts of someone, it will reinforce the reality of sin within that person. Similarly, each victory over sin stregthens a person's holiness and resistance against sin.


Kenneth E. Hagin in his book called, "I Believe in Visions," wrote about a similar case that Jesus told him in a vision. This story was about a Christian woman whose mind was inspired by a demon that she was wasting her musical talent in church, therefore she should play music in the world as well. During the years this demonic thought became so strong in her soul that first she played music both in and outside the church, and later on she left the Lord completely. Jesus explained her fall with the fact that she did not resist the demon that attacked her soul with this thought.


As illegal desires and inclinations of the human soul constantly strive to manifest themselves in the destiny of mankind, it is not surprising that the double-minded Christians were called by James adulterous men and women: "You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred towards God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God ...Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded [dipsychos]." (James 4:4, 7-8)


The Only Way of Escape

One could say that Judas, James or John were talking about the later outcome of the first wave of the revival, about the moral degradation of their following generation and not about the 21st century. Unfortunately, Jesus did not hold out promises regarding the last days preceding His second coming, since He said this period will be a summit of hypocrisy on the Earth. Men will rather tell a pack of lies than admit to themselves or others that they've been leading secret lives. Upon seeing the deep moral crisis of our times, it occurs to many Bible-believing people that we've indeed entered into this hypocritical era, which could be defined as the golden age of double-mindedness.


Jesus defined this era as follows: "But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,' and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 24:48-51, NIV) In this prophecy, Jesus was not talking about the destiny of those hypocritical and double-minded Christians living in the Middle Ages for example, but specifically about those living in the last days.

In the context of His other quotations, we could conclude that in the end times Christians will have to live out their faith under such demonic pressure that only those who consecrate their soul entirely to God will be able to survive. On the other hand, those who only partially submit their souls to the Lord and partially dream about sinful things and in time actually commit these sins, will eventually destroy their lives in the long run.


In other words, their inner dualism will eventually result in their lives being torn into two pieces ("He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites") and as a consequence of a sad occasion - e.g. divorce - people around them will come to know their true nature. Essentially, Jesus summed up how one can drift from hypocrisy and apostasy into total destruction.


Furthermore, Jesus implied that the majority of these people will not be able to turn back in this process, but will become the losers of eternity. It's very likely that this is similar to what the Apostle John was saying about the apostates of his own age, who stayed in their apostasy and immorality long enough in order to open themselves to the spirit of the antichrist. As a result of the influence of the spirit of the antichrist, these people, who used to be Christians, even aggravated their situation by not only dragging themselves into danger, but others as well, since they became enemies to the work they had been torn away from.

The elimination of double-mindedness starts with an inner decision and submission, similar to repentance and can be followed by expelling demons in areas where a person cannot exercise control regardless of his efforts. It's very important for us to emphasise willful submission because those who passively wait for their sanctification and change will not be able to move forward compared to their peers who diligently strive for and desire the liquidation of double-mindedness. Sanctification has to become a central element in order not to end up as losers but as winners of the coming of our Messiah. Apostle John warns end time Christians who will live right before the return of the Lord: "Everyone who has this hope in Him [that the Messiah will soon return] purifies himself" (1 John 3:3)


Source: Új Exodus magazine 


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