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“When bad things happen, don’t ask God ‘Why?’ Just believe God has everything under control, and don’t panic on him,” says Becca, 10.
It’s easy to trust God when things are going smoothly. When the crisis hits without warning, faith is tested. James, the New Testament writer, is so confident in God’s goodness that he urges Christians to rejoice when they encounter difficulties. He knows that testing produces patience.
No, this isn’t sticking your head in the sand in denial. Rather, it’s expectant confidence in God’s ability to use trials to develop character. God knows how to turn sour milk into Swiss yogurt with active, live cultures and fruit on the bottom.
“Being a double-minded person means to pray and you don’t think God will answer it. Not being double-minded means to trust in God,” says Luke, age unknown.
When crisis hits, confusion can lead to despair. Wisdom, however, will give perspective to help us keep our balance during trials. God promises to give wisdom generously to those who are not double-minded but ask in faith (James 1:5-6).
We may never understand why some things happen. Instead of asking “Why?” ask “Who?” Who knows the depth of my pain? Who sees the bigger picture in my life? Who is interested in forming my character through trials? God is the answer to all three questions.
“A person who is double-minded is a person who keeps on giving in to their cravings and can’t make up their mind,” says Matthew, age unknown. These cravings are called “lusts” in the book of James. Those who give in to lusts are “carried away” by them, says James.
As a body surfer, I know the force of ocean undertows. Even the best swimmers can be rendered helpless by a powerful current.
Those who live by lusts lose control of their lives. They’re like ocean swimmers who’ve been swept out to sea by a rip tide. Once out to sea, the double-minded doubter of God is “like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6). According to James, the pattern of destruction is doubt, temptation, lust and death.
“A double-minded person, I believe, is a person who will go to church and then go home, and all they care about is money, clothes, furniture, etc.,” says Julianne, 12.
Some Christians have a time card mentality. They look at going to church as their duty to God. They sit in a pew, but their minds are on the golf course. God wants more than that. He wants your love.
“A way to stop being a double-minded person is to quit thinking about gifts from God. The only real gift from God is his only son,” says Robbie, 10.
Yes, Jesus is God’s greatest gift. By believing in him, we enter into a relationship with him called eternal life.
Have you ever felt used in a relationship? God is no miser, but he resists those who ask him for things based on their lusts. Still, he’s always ready to give good and perfect gifts to his children who love him. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17).
Think about this: For 33 years, Jesus lived with a single mind in total dependence upon his Father.
Memorize this truth: “I can of myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and my judgment is righteous, because I do not seek my own will but the will of the Father who sent me” (John 5:30).