Summary: James Chapter One tells us the results of being double-minded in that we should expect nothing of God unless we can make a clear choice.

Tempted & Double Minded

Rev. Col. Byron E. Martin

American Rescue Workers DC Corps

READ James 1: 2-8

Illustration (from

What is double-minded? A mother noticed that a friend of her teenage daughter had a tattoo of a Japanese symbol on her back. "Please don’t tell my parents," she begged.

"I won’t," she promised. "By the way, what does that stand for?"

She replied, "Honesty."

That is double-minded. Dancing around the truth and thinking that we are embracing it.

Break it down

First: The Trials

Read James 1: 2-3

James tells us that the trials in our life are a test. A test of our faith. Only through testing of your faith can you learn perseverance.

Persevere: To persist in any purpose or enterprise; continue striving in spite of opposition, difficulty…endure, carry on, strive, hold out.

Every great war was won because of perseverance. Every invention, every breakthrough in medicine, every great work was accomplished because of perseverance.

Illustration (from

A guy named Pete gets a job as a switchman with the railroad, and he had weeks of training. Finally the day came, and the supervisor takes him into the switch booth to test his readiness. The following conversation takes place: Supervisor: "Imagine you were sitting here alone and you learned there was a train coming from the North on that track, and another coming from the South on the same track. What would you do?" Pete: "I’d throw this switch right here and put one train on the other track." Supervisor: And what if that switch didn’t work?" Pete: "I’d go down to the track and throw that big switch lever there, putting one train on the other track." Supervisor: "And what if that switch lever didn’t work?" Pete: "Then I’d come back here and call the dispatcher to stop both trains." Supervisor: "And what if the phone didn’t work?" Pete: "Then I’d go to that gas station across the street and use their phone." Supervisor: "And what if their phone didn’t work?" Pete: "Then I’d go get Uncle Joe." Supervisor: "Uncle Joe??? What would he do?" Pete: "Nothing, but he ain’t never seen a train wreck."


Thomas Edison invented the lightbulb because he persevered to find the right thing to use as a filament. History tells us that he tried over 1,000 different materials to use for a filament before he found the right thing. (don’t ask me what that is –as an electrician, I’m a pretty good cook).

Thanks to the perseverance of Tommy E, we aren’t sitting in the dark this morning.

God knows that we aren’t ready to do His will until we have been tried, tested and proven. Then when we are doing His work and trials come –we will be able to withstand the world and the devil.

Give a person a uniform, a helmet, a rifle and ammunition and you have what looks like a soldier but is no more a soldier than is a crash test dummy.

Bootcamp in the army is there to test, try and prove the soldier so that when the enemy attacks –that soldier will be able to stand his ground to win the day.

Until you have persevered the trials you won’t be complete. You can study the Bible but until you live through your own trials, you will not be complete.

READ James 1: 5-6

I love the simplicity of these verses. If it is something that you lack: ask for it. Period. Not only does God give us what we need –He gives generously. All of us should be asking God for wisdom. You can’t have too much of it.

Mind you, this doesn’t work across the board. For example, I lack “tallness”. I’ve prayed for God to make me taller, thinking he will give generously and one day, like Tom Hanks in the movie BIG I would have to donate my old clothes to the needy and buy pants for a man that is 6’4. I’m not asking for the right thing. Or God is just saying “no”. Either way, His Word says if you ask for wisdom He will give it and generously.

Ask for wisdom. He gives generously.

Verse 6 is of the utmost importance. Because when asking, it must be without doubt. You must believe. The Bible says if you doubt you are “like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind”.

Some here have lived just that way. Following whatever the crowd does. Like a cow in a herd of cattle. You always here in a gang-rape case about one or two of them that say they didn’t want to be a part of it but that is what the gang was doing and they were part of the gang.

Lemmings: There is a myth going back as far as the 1530’s about lemmings (small rodents found in the Arctic) and the mass suicides as they will “jump off cliffs by the thousands” because the mass is doing it. Great followers. Whatever the rest of the crowd is doing whether it makes sense or not.

I consider most gang members to be Lemmings. I think a great name for a gang would be the West Side Lemmings. But I digress.

Verses 7 and 8 are clear assurances of what the rewards are for not having the faith when asking God for anything.

“That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.”

Throughout the Word of God we hear that we must soften our heart, invite Jesus into our heart, believe in our heart,…it’s all about the heart.

However, we shouldn’t forget that while we must allow Jesus into our heart or soul, we also must steel our mind and get it under our control.

In Matthew chapter 22: 36: The Pharisees and Sadducees, trying to test Jesus before the crowd asked him “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

His reply in verse 37 is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment”.

There it is from the lips of Jesus to the ears of each of us.

We sing the song “More Love, More Power”. The chorus is;

I will worship Him with all of my heart.

I will worship Him with all of my mind.

I will worship Him with all of my strength.

Hmmm. There seems to be a theme here.

Many people think that as long as they do the right thing, it isn’t anyone’s business what they are thinking because that is their own little playground where anything is possible and nobody gets hurt because it’s only a thought.

But Jesus tried to tell us that we must love God with ALL our heart and ALL our soul and ALL our mind. Otherwise, as James puts it, we should not think to receive anything from the Lord because we are double-minded and unstable.


Os Guiness gives a very helpful definition of doubt in his book In Two Minds. He says, "When you believe, you are in one mind and accept something as true. Unbelief is to be of one mind and reject that something is true. To doubt is to waver between the two, to believe and disbelieve at the same time, and so to be in ’two minds.’" That is what James calls, in Chapter 1, a "double minded man," or as the Chinese say, "Doubt is standing in two boats, with one foot in each."


We have to decide to be on one side or the other and then be there.