I was making some bacon in the microwave yesterday. I really don’t like doing it that way. The absolute best way to make bacon is in the oven. Put the bacon on a cooling rack stacked on a sheet pan, set the oven for 425 degrees and cook it about 20-25 minutes. It doesn’t shrivel and doesn’t cook in the fat.
Anyway, when I took the bacon out of the microwave, I noticed a crack in the plate I was using. The grease from the cooked bacon was oozing out of the crack and getting all over the bottom of the microwave. The cracked plate was now useless.
It was about as useless as a screen door on a submarine.
I admit to watching Texas No Limit Poker on TV. I even have a free game on my iphone that I play from time to time. It’s always a tense moment when a player goes “all in.” There is no safety net. It’s a risk that can pay off or send the player home. It’s win or lose.
James tells us in 1:7-8, “Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.”
The “such people” he is talking about point back to verse 6, the wavering person with divided loyalties. Those people should not expect to receive anything from God, especially answers to prayers.
James then appears to coin a term which in the Greek is literally “double-minded” and in the New Living Translation is indicated as “loyalty is divided”. The term seems to mean being uncertain about the truth of something, doubting, or hesitating. The person who is double-minded is someone whose soul is divided between God and the world. It’s an echo of Jesus in Mt. 6:24 where He said that no one can serve two masters.
To be divided in one’s soul is to be useless for the kingdom, just like a screen door on a submarine.
This statement has its background in the Old Testament theology of loving God with an undivided heart (Dt: 6:5, 18:13). Jesus tells us that this is the greatest commandment – love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.
A double-minded person is restless or vacillating. They may not be willfully rebellious but they are often unwilling to commit to anything and as a result they prove unreliable. You cannot necessarily depend on them.
These are people are unwilling to let go of the world and truly follow Christ, torn between sin and obedience, reluctant to let go of the pleasures of the world for the sake of discipleship.
We were all there once if we are honest. We are torn because in our brokenness we think we are like God, so there is no reason to go “all in” with him. We have to have that “like God” nature from Genesis 3 pulled out. When that happens, it’s not “like God,” it’s “Christ in you!”
Trials crush the like God so that Christ in you can form us unto a whole, complete, mature follower of Jesus. And then we get really useful for the Kingdom.
Uncommitted and useless? Undivided and effective? Which will you be?