Be free from double-minded thinking! Yes, “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!”(John 8:36). When Jesus sets you free from the "two-souled" mindset, you are indeed free. You’re free from wavering between two opinions, procrastinating in decisions, stuck between fear and faith, and vacillating between God’s way and man’s way.
This next series of posts will include Seven Steps to Freedom. Take these steps to see deliverance from the "two-souled" dilemma. These Seven Steps to Freedom are not a formula but a process. They will free you from bondage and move you into a place of peace and stability in your life and your leadership.
The first of the Seven Steps to Freedom is to clarify your choices. Jesus presented choices in a very clear, succinct way. He said you can’t serve both God and money (Matt.6:24). He said lay up treasure in heaven not on earth. It’s either earth or heaven (Matt. 6:19, 20). It’s one or the other and it is clear.
Openly recognizing our choices engages the mind through logical analysis and engages the heart by self-examination. You have to be honest with where your heart is in clarifying the choices!
Most Christians, especially leaders, know the right choice when presented as clearly as those statements by Jesus. However, we often deny the content of our heart which desires to self-protect, to avoid conflict, or to make people happy. When Elijah asked the people "how long will you waver between two opinions," the people didn’t respond (1 Kings 18). Elijah declared a clear choice for God versus Baal. But, they said nothing. They did not want to acknowledge their heart condition-- the depth to which they had sunk-- the extent of their instability in faith. They wondered if the choice was really that clear. How could it be so simple when their hearts were in such turmoil?
Clarify the choices in your head and engage your heart. Don’t deny your condition and you will clarify your choices!
The double-minded leader is unsure about what Jesus did for them.
Are you double-minded about grace versus works for righteousness? Do you think that a sin will remove your name from the Book of Life? Do you question your call, anointing, and purpose? This is being double-minded and unstable as a leader.
Jesus said “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go. . . ”(John 28:18). If you have Christ in you, then you have authority to go!!! Just do it! When you are single-minded about your authority and what Jesus has done, rather than what you have done, you will walk with focus, confidence, and stability as a leader.
Many years ago as a young Christian I found that my choice to believe in the authority Jesus has through me played such a strong role in the supernatural. One day Deborah (my wife) came to me as I was working on the outside of our house. She had a severe migraine headache. She asked that I would pray for her right there. So, I chose to believe in my front yard. She chose to receive in our front yard. The power of the Holy Spirit hit her and she fell over on the grass. The neighbors pretended not to notice, but some may have thought about dialing 911 (smile).
What a deal we have as leaders in this life of faith! Stay focused on what He has done for you, and you will walk in authority and be stable in all you do.
A double-minded leader is unsure of what Jesus did for Him. James 1:6,7 says, "If any of you lacks wisdom he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks he should not doubt because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does."
We can have His wisdom anytime we ask, but we must believe to receive. It’s always available. It’s free! James is very black and white in his statement here. Wow! How can anyone receive wisdom from the Lord? Don’t we all have a little doubt? Doubting and believing are choices we make, not gifts we receive.
Notice that the scripture says the double-minded man will not "receive" anything from the Lord. The Lord has already given it but we are limited in receiving it. The finished work of the cross has given us the gift of salvation and abundance of life in Jesus. He’s already given it, but we have a tough time believing and receiving it. We can believe it or doubt it. It’s a choice! An effective leader chooses to receive and chooses stability of soul and stability of spirit.
A double minded leader is unstable in all he does. To be double minded is literally to be ‘two-souled’; to waver, be unsettled, be indecisive, and lack purity and clarity of thinking. Double mindedness is NOT compatible with effective leadership.
James 4:8 says, ‘wash your hands you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.’ This kind of thinking needs to be purified. We make our decisions in our hearts. Our spirit, which is perfectly righteousness and tuned in to the Father, is pure but our hearts may deceive us with duplicity of thought. Duplicitous thinking may cause us to hesitate when a decision is needed.
When I was a boy I often visited my grandparent’s farm. They had cattle and therefore had many fences. My brother and I would venture out into the expanses of green grass and often had to cross over barbed wire fences into another part of the farm. We would gingerly swing one leg over the fence while we pushed with all our might down on the uppermost barbed wire strand. We were too short to have a leg on both sides of the fence. Once we were properly positioned we would bounce one leg up at the same moment we put the other leg down on the other side of the fence. Once we started this process there was no going back. It was one side of the fence or the other. To be caught hanging on the wire was painful and embarrassing. We could not be ‘two souled’ about the crossover!> I encourage you as a leader to be pure, of one mind, as you lead people. Purify your heart. You don’t want to be hanging on the wire of indecision.
Double minded leaders deceive themselves and depart from God’s best for them. A secondary definition of double minded is ‘deceitful’. Yes, if your own heart deceives you, you may find yourself giving up on God’s plan and coming up with your own plan.
Many leaders fail to fulfill their call and purpose even when they know what God has said to them. They get tired of waiting. They get frustrated with progress. They begin to second guess what God has told them, become double minded. This undermines His promise and frustrates grace in their life. They come up with their own plan. They are deceived!!!!
I think of Abram whom God promised would be the Father of many nations through a son that would be born to him. Abram and Sarai got tired of waiting on a promised son, began to second guess what God had said, and, through self-deception, came up with their own plan, conceiving a son through Hagar the maidservant (Gen. 15, 16). Double minded thinking got them Ishmael. Self-deception got them a counterfeit of God’s promise. Abram and Sarai eventually got their promised son, Isaac, but at a great price to Hagar, Ishmael, and the descendants of Ishmael. God made his covenant with Isaac, not with Ishmael.
Leaders, stay true and focused on what the Lord has spoken to you. Don’t become impatient and double minded. It leads to self-deception and less than God’s best.
People in the U.S. are angry.
They do not believe that their leaders are interested in the good of the people. View any cable news show in the last few weeks and you will find anger in the streets, in the ‘tea parties’, and in town hall meetings. President Obama’s job approval rating has dropped about 15 points over two months. Much of the angst is over legislation that would dramatically change America’s health care system. Anger is also emerging over actions by congress and the President that dramatically increased the national deficit through massive federal spending with little improvement in employment and the economy.
The President has opened his arms to Islam, declared that the U.S. is no longer a Christian nation, and chose not to participate in the National Day of Prayer. The President’s party has a super majority in the Senate and simple majority in the House. He seems invincible and his actions reflect that mindset. He does not need to listen to people because he can, theoretically, do anything he so desires. But, he is losing public support for his leadership.
There is a lesson for church leaders in all of this. People reach their greatest level of anger when they feel others are not listening; when they feel disregarded; when they feel that people of authority are not serving the people. In the church, leaders are usually more sensitive because we know almost everyone we are leading is there voluntarily. People can leave anytime! However, even in the church a leader can feel too self-confident or invincible because he or she has a majority opinion of support. Even when holding a majority position leaders must listen to those who have different perspectives. We may be confident in our position, but we must not abuse our authority.
Paul was about to make his third visit to the church in Corinth when he wrote to them, saying ‘even if I boast somewhat freely about the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than pulling you down, I will not be ashamed of it’ (2 Cor. 10:8). Paul knew his authority, was confident of his position in the Lord, but most importantly, he knew it was authority to build people. In 2 Cor. 11: 2-3, Paul told them ‘I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.’ Paul knew their heart, knew their struggles of faith, and listened to their concerns.
Some in Corinth did not think highly of Paul, but Paul’s motivation to lead came from his passion for the people, even those who did not support him. He was very concerned about them going astray. Paul’s leadership was not about his agenda, but God’s agenda. It was about his call to build them up into the fullness of Christ and to help them walk out the gospel of grace. Paul finished his letter in 2 Cor. 13:10 by saying ‘This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority—the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.’
Paul left no doubt that he had authority and a majority. The Lord was his source of authority. He and the Lord were a majority. And he had a passion for serving Christ and all the people of Corinth. The people of Corinth could only be humbled by his letter. They knew he listened to them. They knew his heart was for them. They knew that Paul would use his authority for their good.
So it is with us today. Listen to people who may not support you even when you have the authority to dictate. Let them know that in your authority is a passion for their good.