“How to Make up Your Mind”. Life is full of decisions and life is basically a series of choices we make every day. We have to evaluate, decide, and draw conclusions. Frank Borham said, “We make our decisions and then our decisions make us.” The quality of your life will be determined by the kind of decisions you make in life. Some of them we regret, some of them we feel good about. I want us to look at what James has to say in chapter one verse 5-11.
A young businessman went to an executive one day and asked for his wisdom, “What is the secret of business success?” The man said, “Wise decisions.” “How can I learn to make wise decisions?” “Experience.” “How do you get experience?” “Dumb decisions!”
The fact is, because we are human we all have a great possibility for error. We wait too long, we pay too much, and we say the wrong thing. Some of you are making difficult decisions this very week. Some of you don’t know it yet but you’ll have a major decision tomorrow. Life is full of choices. James talks about how to make decisions. How do you make up your mind? He gives us the problem, then he gives us the prescription, then he gives us the promise from God.
I. THE PROBLEM: INDECISION
“A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” In Greek, the word “double-minded” literally means “two-souled” — pulled apart in different directions, divided loyalties, divided priorities. We’ve probably all felt this way at one time or another — when we’re trying to do two things at the same time.
Sometimes you’ve got to make a decision. Double-mindedness is devastating, debilitating. It makes you unstable. The word is translated “confused” in many parts of the Bible. It’s used to describe a drunk who’s staggering, reeling, and unstable in all his ways. He’s saying, “If you can’t make up your mind it produces an unstable lifestyle. All your ways will be unstable. Constant turmoil.”
Three ways indecision makes you unstable:
Unstable Emotionally. It’s a strain when you can’t decide. You worry, you strain, and you’re confused. You can’t sleep and you can’t eat. You wonder, “Did I do the right thing?” It creates emotional instability in your life when you can’t make up your mind. A guy goes to a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist says, “Are you indecisive?” He replies, “Yes and no.” “What do you mean by that?” “I used to be but now I’m not sure.”
William James said, “The most miserable person in the world is the person who is habitually indecisive.” It causes unstable emotions.
Unstable Relationally. Lack of commitment destroys marriages. When you can’t decide. Do I want in or do I want out? I can’t get on with it, I can’t get out of it, and I can’t get with it. What am I going to do?
When you’re unstable on the job and switching back and forth between careers. When you’re a parent and say one thing then you say another thing. We give double messages to our kids. It causes instability. You can’t decide in a relationship. Am I going to get out of it or am I going to get on with it? I’ve discovered many times it takes more energy deciding than it does to do it. Once you do it, it’s a snap, but the key is deciding.
Unstable Spiritually. “Let not that man think he’ll receive anything from the Lord.” So it blocks up your prayer life. Indecision keeps God from giving and you from receiving what He has to offer. Some of you say, “Why doesn’t God answer my prayers?” Maybe you’re not specific enough.
Maybe you’ve never really decided what it is you want and you don’t have a clear-cut goal. Double-mindedness can lead to a double life, a spiritually schizophrenic Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde. In Pilgrim’s Progress it talks about a man named Mr. Facing-Both-Ways. That’s when you want to do your will and God’s will at the same time. When you know what’s right but you do wrong anyway.
When you’re trying to live for two people. On Sunday you come and sing “Onward Christian Soldiers” and Monday you go AWOL. Double-mindedness produces a double life. It causes instability in all of your ways. It produces an unstable life style.
The problem is indecision. What’s the solution? James says, “Get wisdom”. “If any of you lacks wisdom you should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault and it will be given to him.” Next week we will look at three practical steps in dealing with this.