One more! LOVING vs. GOSSIP. Why is gossip such an attractive thing to the human personality? It is a strange way of relating, isn’t it? James says in [chapter] 3:9, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and FAther, and with it we curse men who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing”. We walk up to a brother and say, “I love you in the Lord”. Then when we are with someone else, we say gossiping things about him. Wow! That’s really being DOUBLE-MINDED! Again, the problem is something within our-SELVES that we need to face. Probably, we have a very low image of [ourselves]. Or we are carrying . . . rejection for one reason or another, and we build [ourselves] up by tearing down a brother. We salve our hurt by hurting another.
There are few absolutes in the world. I know of only a couple: the WORD of God, and GOD HIMSELF. In almost everything else, there is the constancy of change. Autos were developed as a mode of transportation. Now they are either a toy or a status symbol. Football, baseball, basketball, and tennis were games to play for fun and exercise. Now they are business, used to sell all kinds of products. Our houses were the abode and meeting place for “family”. Now they are hiding places and entertainment centers for frustrated individual spirits [who are] searching for “reality” and not finding it. The social mores of the people of America are radically different from that which came forth in the settling of this land [only] a short 200 years ago. And the system of law under which we are governed is a far cry from where it was just 50 years ago.
And in all this, God is seeking to bring us to the realization that we who are the Body of Christ must come into some radical change in our own personal relationship with Him. So, the problem of being a double-minded person must be faced candidly and openly. In Colossians 2:8 Paul warns us to “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of the ‘world’ rather than on Christ”. Now, that is one of the most pertinent things the Bible says about the day in which we are now living. Human tradition , or HUMANISM, as it is known today, simply says, “Do your own thing. Follow the world’s viewpoint, and have more fun! You can be a Christian and still be the beneficiary of the world’s concept of Life”. But Jesus says, “NO!” Straight from the shoulder, James fires this salvo: “YOU ADULTEROUS PEOPLE, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred towards God?” And for emphasis he adds, “Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an ENEMY of God” (James 4:4).
One of the “Guidelines for Parents” [that] Sally and I give in our teachings is this: SET HIGH STANDARDS EARLY. A standard of behavior is meant to eliminate DUPLICITY. Being double-minded causes young people to seek to follow two sets of standards – one for inside the home, another for outside the home (out in the “world”). Christian men and women must work diligently to eliminate that latter set of “standards” and the resultant relationships.
God’s Word to me personally, a long time ago, was, “YOUR LIFE IS MY MESSAGE TO THOSE AROUND YOU”. In the establishment of the first church in Acts 2:46, Dr. Luke says, “Every day they continued to meet together . . . , and they broke bread and ate together with gladness and SINGLENESS OF HEART”. That word “SINGLENESS”, in the original language that Luke used in writing this account, has a very clear meaning: TO ELIMINATE DUPLICITY!
Because of our NATURAL background, namely that “we are, by NATURE, children of wrath”, we must recognize that we still often find ourselves dealing out of two personalities – “THE OLD MAN” and “THE NEW MAN”. Since the devil was and is the “lord” of the “old man”, we absolutely must give top place in our “new man” to the RULERSHIP of Jesus, our LORD. Well, praise the Lord! The Spirit of His Son, the SPIRIT OF OBEDIENCE, dwells within us. Let’s allow Him to set our standards AND our patterns (our LIFESTYLE), as we seek to move towards the ONE SET OF STANDARDS He gives . . . us in His Word. And again the Apostle James says, using that unique phrase, “PURIFY YOUR HEARTS, YOU DOUBLE-MINDED”. And then he adds, “Humble yourSELF before the Lord, AND HE WILL LIFT YOU UP! (emphasis mine). Yes, we take the first step AS AN ACT OF OUR WILL, and God’s promise is that HE will bring us to “maturity” as we become SINGLE-MINDED!
From Jay Fesperman’s “Letters of Exhortation”, Number 37, March 1984.