8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
The Greek words used by James for “double minded man” can be literally translated as a man of double souls. To pursue Christ and the world is to pursue both good and evil, which divides and defiles all the good in oneself. A believer ought to be single-minded in his allegiance to God. He cannot be divided in his loyalty to God. If a man who claims to be a believer is always in two minds, he will prove himself to be hypocritical.
The church in Corinth had many who lived a “double life”, which was sharply rebuked by the apostle Paul. “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3).
Sadly, many attempt to live a double-minded life in these days. They try in vain to blend contradictory pursuits of carnality and godliness, faith and doubt, the flesh and the Spirit, self and God, the wisdom from above and the wisdom from the earth. Double-mindedness will severely mar one’s life. One’s life will be smeared with stains of divided loyalties. If a man would ask God in prayer for a favour but would not submit to His Word, let him not think that God would accept his prayer. He who prays without surrendering to God’s will is disingenuous.
The apostle James says that such a life “is unstable in all his ways”. Unstableness of the double-minded man is not merely in regard to prayer, but in respect to “all his ways”! His character, conduct, friendship and all other pursuits of life will show his instability in faith and devotion. Although such a person claims to trust in God, all his ways will show otherwise.
Many such may profess to be Christians and claim to seek God in prayer, but their fickleness and instability will consume their lives in all respects. If a true Christian has been living without wholehearted devotion to God, he must repent of the folly of his double-mindedness and return to God at once! Why should such a person expect anything from God through prayer? Let every Christian yield to God with genuine, undivided faith so that God’s wisdom, favour and assurance may always attend his ways.