"Some Christians have faith and unbelief operating in them at the same time, but as Christians we ought to believe only. It has become common today in Christendom that many people's faith though tried by fire - by the tough times and hardships of life - is still impure and corrupt by unbelief, doubt, and fear. Many believers know fully well that they have enough faith in them but they cannot see the manifestations of their faith." - Asuquo Emmanuel
How is your faith today? Are you seeing the manifestations of it? Or are you finding that though you have come through the fire, it is still impure and corrupt by unbelief, doubt, and fear? Do you happen to be one of those Christians who has faith and unbelief operating in them at the same time?
The Apostle James proved that a believer can operate both in faith and unbelief at the same time when he wrote the following words - "But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways" (James 1:6-8)
Here we see that a man can "ask in faith,"
yet be "wavering"
- be filled with fear, doubt, and unbelief.
What is insinuated here is that one can "speak" to his "mountain" supposedly in faith, yet be doubting in his heart that what he says will actually come to pass or that he will have whatever he says or desires.
We see this mixture of faith with doubt
also implied in the words of our Lord Jesus in Mark 11:22-24
which says - "And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them."
In both verses, we get the negative or undesirable picture of doubt being attached to faith or of faith in the heart being mixed with fear, doubt, and unbelief.
In a sense, both James and the Lord Jesus are asking - "Why do you mix your faith with fear?" Both are saying - "Have faith in God." "Believe only." "Keep your faith pure."
There are two thieves that are hinted at in both of the above passages of Scripture. They are two of the greatest spiritual thieves that can harass the believer - causing him to lose his peace in the midst of a trial and lose his miracle at the end of the trial. They happen to be doubt and double-mindedness.
Doubt comes from the Latin word - dubitare - which means "in two minds." To believe is to be "in one mind." To doubt is to be "in two minds." Another way to describe it is to say that one is divided in his mind whereby he is drawn in two ways. A good example of a person having a divided mind is Peter when he walked on the water.
What more can we say about this thief - doubt?
~ Where there is doubt, there is a divided loyalty. You doubt that God loves you...cares for you...is good...is doing what is best for you ...will see you through as He promised...is powerful ...and nothing is impossible with Him. You find yourself believing that He can do as He promised, and, at the same time, questioning whether He will. One minute you are resting on His promises, and then the next, you feel that He has forgotten you.
~ Where there is doubt, there is uncertainty. You place the character of God in question. You lack confidence in Him and waver, fluctuate, and hesitate in your opinion of Him. Consequently, you are unable to commit your way entirely to Him.
~ Where there is doubt, there is instability. Your faith alternates between optimism and pessimism. You aren't really sure who you should turn to in times of trouble. You are easily swayed one way or another - being easily manipulated.
~ Where there is doubt, there is the union of Yes and No. There is the hesitancy which balances between faith and unbelief - while leaning more toward the latter.
~ Where there is doubt, there is a divided mind. You are divided between being self-centered and God-centered. You cannot decide if you should go all out with God or still rely on yourself to get things done. You pray in faith but still lean to your own understanding.
~ Where there is doubt, circumstances end up being the decision makers. You end up being driven by every whim, "wind," and "wave" that comes your way.
~ Where there is doubt, the blessings of God are shut off - simply because you do not think that He can, will, or is even capable of doing what you need.
Besides doubt, double-mindedness is also a spiritual thief that harasses the believer. Unlike doubt, it seems to deal more with the heart's commitment or surrender to Jesus - or the lack thereof.
The double-minded man relies on the Lord but also relies on self. He fears God yet serves other gods. He wants what God wants but also what he wants. He has not fully abandoned himself to God's will. He is not ready to do whatever He tells him. Hence, he wavers at every turn.
When seeking guidance, the double-minded man seeks it out of curiosity rather than with the intent to obey. He is the man on the fence who is tilting one way saying - "I will" - then tilting the other way, saying - "I won't." He is trying to live in two worlds at the same time - wanting the goals and desires of this world and the goals and desires of Jesus' kingdom. Part of him wants to trust God, and the other part wants to trust the world.
He is continually distracted. He has no settled principles. He is controlled by passion and influenced by popular feeling. He has divided motives and divisive attitudes - being inclined to one opinion or course of conduct and then to another.
Dr. Thomas L. Constable described him in this way - "...the man is a walking civil war in which trust and distrust of God wage a continual battle against each other."
Fully aware of these two spiritual thieves in their lives, how did the Apostle James exhort all believers in James 1:6-8?
He said concerning faith in God - "But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways."
When the believer approaches God in prayer, there must be sincere faith - no secret doubts...no inward reservations. All questions must be removed from his mind. He must come in full reliance upon God and His promises. He must have a working confidence in God that leads him to ask and then expects to receive. He must realize that He of Whom he asks will use His judgment in the matter - whether it be in giving... delaying...withholding...or altering - as He sees to be for the best. All this is necessary to counteract the "doubt thief."
In addition, there must be an undivided heart and a Christ centered focus...an inner willingness to rely wholly on God...and an utter abandonment to the will of God - willing to do anything that He asks. This is necessary to counteract the "double-mindedness thief."
How would you then describe faith?
David Holwick offered this statement concerning faith - "Faith is the simple act of coming to Jesus with some need, in complete confidence that He can, and will deal with it." Dr. Grant Richison added this statement - "Faith is reliance on God's promise and trust in His character...Faith engages us with the power of God." And lastly, Gil Rugh had this to say - "We must trust that God is able and willing to do as He promised."
There are two spiritual thieves that are right now keeping you from receiving your Miracle.
They are doubt and double-mindedness.
As our opening quote stated, there are some Christians who have faith and unbelief operating in them at the same time. Their faith is impure and corrupt by unbelief, doubt, and fear. They have faith but cannot see the manifestations of it.
Does that describe you?
As we have seen from the Scriptures, it is possible to speak out in faith and doubt in your heart. It is possible to ask for wisdom from God and yet not be willing to follow His instructions.
Prayerfully, this message will cause you to go before the Lord and ask Him to reveal any doubt or double-mindedness that may be hindering you from seeing the manifestations of your faith.
"But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering (doubting)..."
"For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord."
"A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways."
When you approach God in prayer, be of one mind. Believe only that He can and will do for you what He said He would do.
And be sure that you are fully surrendered to Him in your heart and mind - utterly abandoned to do His will - no matter what it may be.
Then, and only then, will you prevail against these two spiritual thieves.