In working with so many young-adult Christians who lacked a lot in living a disciplined personal life, we have come to appreciate more and more the short Epistle of James. In this short letter, he shoots straight at the target in a way few other writers of Scripture used. Some of his jibes are uniquely different, and often, the words he uses show up nowhere else in the Bible. One of these unique words in the original Greek is “dipsuchōs”.

No other writer of Scripture uses this word, but James chose to use it twice, both in 1:8 and in 4:8. It is a combo of “dis” (meaning “twice”), and “psuchē” (“a soul”). In other words, a DOUBLE-MINDED MAN is a TWO-SOULED man.

Now, the soul is at the heart of a man’s being. It is the combined working of the mind and will of the person. The SOUL is one of the three-fold persons that we are. But we have only one soul, not two. We have only one body; we have only one soul. It’s just that at times, we act as though we were two people. And, in a sense, we can be. The Bible says that when we became Christians and we were baptized, we buried “The Old Man”, and “The New Man” came forth. However, most of us have a problem. Rather than keeping him buried, we allow the “Old Man” to come and rule in certain areas of our [lives]. And we cling to a lot of the “worldly” and “fleshly” things to satisfy the carnal, sinful nature. In doing this, we become DOUBLE-MINDED – sometimes seeking to please the Spirit, sometimes seeking to please the flesh or sinful nature. Let’s get down to cases and look at some examples of double-mindedness where we might be guilty.

MANIPULATION vs. OBEDIENCE. When we were young, rarely did we just out-and-out disobey our parents, but we were real con-artists. We learned early how to twist them or twist our words, so that the lie was not so obvious. We learned how to develop shades of truth, dressing up a lie to sound “not-too-bad”. Or we would go to one parent rather than the other, because we knew their weakness towards us in this or that area of our desires. We knew that where one would be hard, the other could be an easy touch. We developed a type of scheming, and if we would not face it honestly it could still be with us. Then any authority expressed to us  might bring forth a double-minded reaction. James says: “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so DECEIVE yourselves. DO what is says!” (James 1:22, emphasis mine).

From Jay Fesperman’s “Letters of Exhortation”, Number 37, March 1984.