In the book of James, he tells us if we “lack wisdom, [we] should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to [us]” (James 1:5 NIV). James then tells us that when we ask, we “must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6 NIV). James informs us that such a person “should not expect to receive anything from the Lord” because “such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do” (emphasis added, James 1:7-8 NIV).

James uses the term “double-minded” (GRK: dipsuchosto) to describe such a person. Within the New Testament, no one else uses this word, although Jesus comments on the practice of double-mindedness in Matthew.

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

Matthew 6:24 (NIV)

As described by James and inferred by our Lord, a double-minded person is one with divided loyalty. In Matthew 6:33, our Lord encourages us to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (NIV). Proverbs 3:5-6 gives us this promise and charge.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

When we lack wisdom, it means we lack knowledge. We don’t know. We think we know a lot, but we don’t know as we ought to know. We often make choices based on the things we know. That is, what we have experienced before. Sort of like Pavlov and his dogs.

Ivan Pavlov was a Russian physiologist researching dog salivation in the 1890s relative to the act of feeding. While measuring dog salivation, Pavlov noticed that the dogs started to salivate before they were fed. In fact, they began to salivate when they heard the footsteps of the person going to feed them. Therefore, the dogs started to salivate in anticipation of being fed. Thus, “classical conditioning was discovered” (Modern Therapy, Pavlov’s Dogs Study explained, 2018).

There’s nothing wrong with making choices based on how things have worked out. When I go to my favorite restaurant, I order my favorite dish because it checks all the boxes. However, I will posit that sometimes we do things based on previous experience without the desired outcome. For example, what do I do when my back hurts, or I have a headache? Do I reach for that bottle of Ibuprofen or ask the Lord to heal me? What is my reflexive response? Some might say that’s over spiritualizing things. Is it? Proverb 3:5-6 says, “In all our ways.” In other words, in everything we do.

Let’s consider opinions. When we’re wondering how we ought to do something, who do we ask? Do we seek doctors, lawyers, and other experts in their fields for answers when we have issues they can help with? Do we jump on Google and do a search because it’s quick and easy? The difference between seeking other sources first and not the Lord is, in my mind, the difference between who gets the glory and how we see God.

We don’t want to be like King Ahaz, who, upon visiting Damascus, saw a foreign altar and had it recreated and set next to the Lord’s altar.

King Ahaz then gave these orders to Uriah the priest: “On the large new altar, offer the morning burnt offering and the evening grain offering, the king’s burnt offering and his grain offering, and the burnt offering of all the people of the land, and their grain offering and their drink offering. Splash against this altar the blood of all the burnt offerings and sacrifices. But I will use the bronze altar for seeking guidance” (emphasis added).

2 Kings 16:15 (NIV)

Ahaz used the altar to a foreign god for his day-to-day practices, but when he needed guidance from the Lord, he used the bronze altar Solomon had built in the temple. Ahaz compartmentalized his view of God; if we’re not careful, we can do the same thing.

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, freed from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart and receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.