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Double Minded Doggie: a faith based Beatitudes story from the Story Powerline
Thursday, October 22, 2020 by Becky Cerling Powers

Years ago we had a small mixed breed dog named Shadow who showed me why God doesn’t always answer my prayers for guidance.

Shadow liked to play Fetch, so one night I crouched at the kitchen door and tossed a ball under the kitchen table. Wiggling with delight, Shadow raced after it and fetched it back. I tossed it into the room again. He raced in and fetched it back.

Toss, fetch, toss, fetch…

This went on until I took a second ball and tossed it in after the first ball.

Shadow picked up the first ball under the table and then noticed the second ball. He dropped the first ball to pick up the second. Then, with his mouth full of the second ball, he tried to pick up the first ball, too. But he couldn’t fit both balls into his mouth, so he dropped the second ball to pick up the first.

Suddenly he was blocked

He couldn’t decide which ball to fetch, so he couldn’t play the game anymore.

And that, I realized, was a live demonstration showing why St. James, the brother of Jesus, taught the early church that double minded people cannot get wisdom from God even when they ask for it.

Shadow really, really wanted to play Fetch and at the same time, he really, really wanted to play with both balls in his mouth at once. Unfortunately, the second thing he wanted made it impossible to do the first thing he wanted. And as long as he had to have everything – and was unwilling to give up anything – he was blocked.

We think we aren’t that silly.

But St. James says we are: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do” (James 1: 5-8 NIV).

So… I want unity and I want My Tribe First. I want my spouse to stop picking fights with me and I want to get even. I want to do the right thing, and I want everyone to approve of me. When I make mistakes, I want grace. But I don’t want to admit I need it. I want to hang onto my pride.

I want my situation to change, but I don’t want to have to change my way of dealing with it. I want God to help me AND I want to be God myself – to use Him as my servant to do things my way.

Bottom line:

God doesn’t give wisdom to double-minded people because they can’t receive it. Their hands are too full. Their minds are too distracted. They trust their own understanding more than God’s. They won’t let go of what they are grasping onto in order to be able to take hold of what they need most.

When we find ourselves stuck and unable to find the wisdom we need for our situation, St. James says to do this: “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded…Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up” (James 4: 8, 10 NIV)

Our best example of someone who was pure-hearted and single-minded is Jesus, who taught us that there is an even greater blessing than wisdom for pure-hearted people. In his Sermon on the Mount he said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8).

Today’s prayer

Lord, I am worried about ________________ and I need to know what to do. I admit I’m probably hanging onto attitudes or desires that prevent me from receiving Your wisdom. But I just can’t see it. So please show me plainly and help me to let go of whatever it is. I want to trust Your understanding more than my own understanding. I want Your wisdom for this situation. Amen.

© 2018 Becky Cerling Powers

 

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