How about this one: CALM vs. ANGER IN THE HEART. Early in our youth, we learned what angry or “sassy” words would get us, so we learned to keep a reasonable calm veneer and hide the real reaction we felt. Now, our lifestyle is based on burying the anger so deeply [that] we don’t realize that it is producing DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS – false reactions and bad attitudes. Eventually it spills over into our emotions and we cannot hide it. But we don’t know what to do about it either. James says in [chapter] 3:13-14, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life. By deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfishness in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth”. Many people today are eaten up with anger buried deep within, but do not deal with it. So it causes us to act outwardly in a way that deprives us of clear, truthful expression of ourselves.

Here’s a good one! LAZINESS vs. PERSEVERANCE. Usually, we are so ashamed of our laziness that we try cover-up tactics. For instance, Dad tells you to bring in a load of wood for the fire. You know the wood pile is low, and it will require some axe-work; so you beg off. “I’ve got tons of homework to do, Dad”. Now that you have grown up (?), there’s no drive to “stick-to-it” in your lifestyle; yet you just cannot understand why your boss fired you from that good-paying job. That’s DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS! James says, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him” (1:12).

These may seem to be small things to deal with, in order to become a great man or woman of God, but Jesus Himself said, “You have been faithful with a little; now I will trust you with great things” (Matthew 25:21). Jesus is our discipler, and since He knows our hearts as well as our outward actions, He knows well enough that it is in these seemingly insignificant areas that the Spirit of OBEDIENCE must do its work.

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