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Dear COA family,

At the celebration of our 70th anniversary this week, I had wanted to share on God’s blessings toward us. Yet I am led to issue us a sober warning.

Recently I counselled a person. She believed in Christ’s saving power for her, yet was unwilling to give up her dependence on her ancestral gods to help her. This resulted in her being in a most miserable state – unsure of who she should turn to for help. At times she would pray to Jesus. At other times, she would seek for charms and amulets to help her ward off evil. Nothing helped. Thankfully, I was able to encourage to put her trust totally in Christ.

Such an attitude is warned against most severely in the Bible. It is called double-mindedness.

But let him (who prays to God) ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his way” (James 1:6-8).

Double-mindedness can be described as carnality or worldliness. When Christians are trying to please God and still fit in with the world at the same time, they’re double-minded. Their loyalty or allegiance is neither fully with God nor with the world.

Unfortunately, such a mindset exists all too commonly in our church today, more often than we are aware of. It has existed of old, and continue to frequently occur today.

1. The children of Israel who resettled in Samaria after the fall of Israel were described as being double-minded in their worship. They were afraid that if they only prayed to one God, they would offend other gods. Or they were simply being ‘kiasu’, being willing to pray to any god who is able to grant their requests.

So they feared the Lord but also served their own gods, after the manner of the nations from among whom they had been carried away” (2 Kings 17:33).

As a result, they remained under God’s judgment and punishment as long as they were double-minded.

2. We can easily be double-minded in our lives today as well. One obvious example is us seeking our pursuits, yet claiming to believe and trust in God. This can be seen in some of us prioritising our own interests and convenience on a Sunday above the corporate worship of God which he commands, yet still wanting to be a Christian.

Such a person should not think that they will receive any blessings from God (James 1:7). And when I speak of blessings, I am referring to the divine bestowment of peace, assurance and the presence of God in one’s life rather than simply health, wealth or success. Such godly blessings can only come about when one is fully obedient and devoted to the Lord.

Jesus warns us in no uncertain terms, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6:24).

Double-mindedness is ultimately idolatry because, at its root, it is concern for ourselves alone and not worship of God. We are double-minded because we only want all the possible blessings for ourselves and our own well-being. And we don’t care how we go about achieving it. We can serve any “god” as long as it can give us what we want. It may not go to the extent of praying to another religion but it is idolatry nevertheless. We are not committed to living for God’s kingdom and glory but for our own purposes.

Beloved, let us not fall into the trap of double-mindedness. It is a satanic deception that we can have our cake and eat it too. If the Lord is God, then serve him with all of your heart, mind and life. You will then receive the divine blessings that come from pursuing him single-mindedly.

Revd Ian