December 31, 2020
So then, brethren, consecrated and set apart for God, sharing in the heavenly calling, [thoughtfully and attentively] consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest Whom we confessed [as ours when we embraced the Christian faith]. [See how] faithful He was to Him Who appointed Him [Apostle and High Priest]…
Christ (the Messiah) was faithful over His [own Father’s] house as a Son [and Master of it]. And it is we who are [now members] of this house, if we hold fast and firm to the end our joyful and exultant confidence and sense of triumph in our hope [in Christ]. Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says; “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, as [happened] in the rebellion [of Israel] and their provocation and embitterment [of Me] in the day of testing in the wilderness…” (Hebrews 3:1-2a,6-8)
Right now, in our society, we’re seeing conflicts ramping up on every front. On the surface, it seems as though these conflicts are clear-cut, caused by a variety of external differences. In actuality they are set-ups, expertly crafted by those who want more power, in order to distract and divide people, with the ultimate goal of destroying any united opposition to their control.
These conflicts seem to be the problem in our society, but there is actually a much deeper issue. It’s important for us to realize, that in all of these things, and in the entire world, there are only two categories of people. Despite all the media spin and distractions being thrown around, these two categories are not BLACK AND WHITE, or LEFT AND RIGHT. The categories are SINGLE-MINDED and DOUBLE-MINDED.
SINGLE-MINDED people have finally been brought to the end of themselves, surrendered completely to Jesus Christ, and now live for the Kingdom of God in the power of the Holy Spirit. DOUBLE-MINDED people are still holding onto their own will and live ultimately for self. Any person taking part in the conflicts we see around us are exhibiting DOUBLE-MINDEDness. SINGLE-MINDED people have been changed from the inside out, translated from the kingdom of this earth to a new Kingdom (the Kingdom of God), and now desire to live for Jesus Christ alone. They seek God regularly in His Word and in prayer, and they seek to be led by His Holy Spirit. Those led by the Holy Spirit have no desire to take part in the ways of this world.
Being DOUBLE-MINDED is a very serious condition. Many people who think they know Jesus Christ are fooling themselves. We cannot follow Jesus Christ AND the dictates of our own hearts. If we follow Christ, we follow Him with EVERYTHING, in EVERY SITUATION. Followers of Christ are SINGLE-MINDED. When we are SINGLE-MINDED, there is no longer a division between what the LORD wants and what “I” want. When we become born-again and surrender to God through Jesus Christ, what God wants becomes what we want, in everything. There is nothing we want apart from His will. We were not placed on this earth for God to serve us. We were placed on this earth to serve Him.
God says in His Word that a DOUBLE-MINDED person is unstable in all his ways (James 1:8, 4:8), and that if we seek to selfishly save our own life, we will lose it (Luke 17:33).
[Therefore beware] brethren, take care, lest there be in any one of you a wicked, unbelieving heart [which refuses to cleave to, trust in, and rely on Him], leading you to turn away and desert or stand aloof from the living God. But instead warn (admonish, urge, and encourage) one another every day, as long as it is called Today, that none of you may be hardened [into settled rebellion] by the deceitfulness of sin [by the fraudulence, stratagem, the trickery which the delusive glamor of his sin may play on him]. For we have become fellows with Christ (the Messiah) and share in all He has for us, if only we hold our first newborn confidence and original assured expectation [in virtue of which we are believers] firm and unshaken to the end. Then while it is [still] called Today, if you would hear His voice and when you hear it, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion [in the desert, when the people provoked and irritated and embittered God against them]….
And to whom did He swear that they should not enter His rest, but to those who disobeyed [who had not listened to His word and who refused to be compliant or be persuaded]? So we see that they were not able to enter [into His rest], because of their unwillingness to adhere to and trust in and rely on God [unbelief had shut them out]. (Hebrews 3:12-15,18-19)
The Bible says rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft (I Samuel 15:23). Needing one’s own way is rebellion. Fighting for one’s own “rights” is rebellion. Having to be “right” at the expense of others is rebellion. Putting self first is rebellion. Being defensive is rebellion. Treating others badly is rebellion. Trying to force one’s own way on others is rebellion. Rejecting God is rebellion. The common denominator in all these things is SELF. Self was satan’s downfall. It is also the downfall of every single person who is not born again. One sure sign of DOUBLE-MINDEDness is that a person has never truly died to self.
In the beginning, God made a perfect plan to walk in beautiful fellowship with His people. Even still, man wanted their own way, so they rebelled and lost that perfect fellowship with their Creator. God then did what none of us could ever do. He sent His Son Jesus to die and rise up again to new life in order to pave the way for us to do the same. Jesus paid the penalty (in full) for our rebellion, and broke down the wall of separation between us and God our Father. God’s Word states clearly that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and that no one comes to the Father but through Him (John 14:6). Jesus Himself tells us exactly what we must do, in order to be restored to this right relationship with God. We must be born again (John 3:5-7).
The Bible explains what we must do in order to be born again. It says faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). When people heard about Jesus, that God has made Him both LORD and Christ (the Messiah), they were stung (cut) to the heart, and they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles (special messengers), “Brethren, what shall we do?” And Peter answered them, “Repent (change your views and purpose to accept the will of God in your inner selves instead of rejecting it) and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise [of the Holy Spirit] is to and for you and your children, and to and for all that are far away, [even] to and for as many as the LORD our God invites and bids to come to Himself.” (Acts 2:36b-39)
When Jesus came to John in order to be baptized, John protested, realizing his own need to be baptized by Jesus. But Jesus replied to him, “Permit it just now; for this is the fitting way for [both of] us to fulfill all righteousness [that is, to perform completely whatever is right].” Then he permitted Him. And when Jesus was baptized, He went up at once out of the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he [John] saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is My Son, My Beloved, in Whom I delight!” Then Jesus was led (guided) by the [Holy] Spirit…. (Matthew 3:-4:1a)
Jesus was our example and set the precedent for how we are to follow Him, as also illustrated in Acts 2:38. Since He walked perfectly with no sin, Jesus did not need to repent, but He walked out His call to us to be baptized (immersed in water) and receive the Holy Spirit.
True repentance, for us though, is crucial. There should be no baptism without it. “Repent” means “to turn”. It’s a turning FROM living for self, TO living for God. It’s coming to the very end of ourselves. It’s realizing that doing life without God is impossible. It’s handing over our entire being to God through Jesus Christ alone. It’s inviting Him to have His way completely in and through us. It’s stepping off the “throne” of our life, and letting God take His rightful place there, as LORD of everything. It’s fully letting go of, and handing over the reins of control to Him and Him alone. Through repentance and baptism, we understand our need, and choose to die to ourselves completely, once and for all, holding nothing back.
With our heart and mind and mouth we reject all things that oppose Christ, repent of all our sins, unforgiveness, and any idolatry or worship of false gods. We no longer want any thoughts, words or actions that aren’t given to us by God. We’re done trying to have our own way. Now we want only His. Our heart’s desire is now “LORD, have YOUR WAY,” in every situation.
With our body, we choose to put off the “old man,” and die and be buried with Christ in baptism. We then rise up a new creation, just as He promised. When we turn completely away from our own ways and seek God for His ways through these steps of obedience, He transfers our citizenship from the kingdom of self/earth/darkness, to the glorious Kingdom of God. He gives us a new heart – one that no longer attempts to build its own earthly kingdom, but now desires only to build His Heavenly Kingdom.
And just like the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus after He was baptized, God promises the same to us. He promises to give us the gift of His Holy Spirit when we repent and get baptized. The Holy Spirit is our Comforter and our Helper, given to us by God so we can walk out this journey of following Jesus victoriously, not by might, nor by power, but only in the strength and power of His Holy Spirit (Zechariah 4:6b).
This is what it means to be “born again”. To be truly born again means to no longer be DOUBLE-MINDED. Self has now been put to death, and its conflicting goals are no longer in the way. One is now SINGLE-MINDED, purposed only for Jesus Christ. There is peace and rest in this place. We now walk, led by the dictates of the Holy Spirit, no longer the flesh. If we stumble momentarily as He trains us to walk for His Kingdom instead of our own, we repent quickly, the LORD picks us back up, and we continue walking with Him. Over time, we become more and more like our LORD Jesus. Our heart stays fixed on being pleasing to God, and doing His will.
Therefore, while the promise of entering His rest still holds and is offered [today], let us be afraid [to distrust it], lest any of you should think he has come too late and has come short of [reaching] it. For indeed we have had the glad tidings [Gospel of God] proclaimed to us just as truly as they [the Israelites of old did when the good news of deliverance from bondage came to them]; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because it was not mixed with faith (with the leaning of the entire personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) by those who heard it; neither were they united in faith with the ones [Joshua and Caleb] who heard (did believe).
For we who have believed (adhered to and trusted in and relied on God) do enter that rest, in accordance with His declaration that those [who did not believe] should not enter when He said “As I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest’”; and this He said although [His] works had been completed and prepared [and waiting for all who would believe] from the foundation of the world.
For in a certain place He has said this about the seventh day; and God rested on the seventh day from all His works. And [they forfeited their part in it, for] in this [passage] He said, “They shall not enter My rest.”
Seeing then that the promise remains over [from past times] for some to enter that rest, and that those who formerly were given the good news about it and the opportunity, failed to appropriate it and did not enter because of disobedience, again He sets a definite day, [a new] Today, [and gives another opportunity of securing that rest] saying through David after so long a time in the words already quoted, “Today, if you would hear His voice and when you hear it, do not harden your hearts.”
So then, there is still awaiting a full and complete Sabbath-rest reserved for the [true] people of God; for he who has once entered [God’s] rest also has ceased from [the weariness and pain] of human labors, just as God rested from those labors peculiarly His own. (Hebrews 4:1-7,9-10)
SINGLE-MINDED people are done trying to be justified by works of the flesh, therefore they have ceased striving. Any “good works” now done by these true Christ-followers are simply fruit of the Holy Spirit’s work in and through them. These are God’s works, prepared for them since the beginning of time. These works are the complete opposite of works of the flesh. They are done in the strength and power of the Holy Spirit, not by fleshly exertion.
DOUBLE-MINDED people are often stressed and exhausted because they’re still trying to accomplish things in their own strength, which was never God’s design. They’ve never ceased from striving, and therefore have not entered into the rest God has provided for His people. Again, this is solely because of their own rebellion and disobedience.
Another facet of “DOUBLE-MINDEDness” is “GUILE”. Other words for “GUILE” are: TREACHEROUS CUNNING, SKILLFUL DECEIT, A TRICK OR STRATEGEM, TO BEGUILE, DECEIVE, INSIDIOUS CUNNING ON ATTAINING A GOAL, CRAFTY OR ARTFUL DECEPTION, DUPLICITY, TRICKERY, SELL-OUT, and TREACHERY.
Other words for “BEGUILE” are: TO INFLUENCE BY TRICKERY OR FLATTERY, MISLEAD, and DELUDE.
Other words for “DUPLICITY” are: DECEITFULNESS IN SPEECH OR CONDUCT, AS BY SPEAKING OR ACTING IN TWO DIFFERENT WAYS, THE STATE OR QUALITY OF HAVING TWO ELEMENTS OR PARTS, BEING TWO-FOLD OR DOUBLE-MINDED, and WAVERING OR UNDECIDED IN MIND.
This is the difference between the new man and the old man. The definitions above are evidences of the old man. Every lost person is DOUBLE-MINDED.
The following are evidences of the new man, born again of water and the Holy Spirit…..
“NO GUILE”: FORTHRIGHT, TRUSTWORTHY, HONEST, HONORABLE, FRANK, UPRIGHT, OPEN, TRUTHFUL, SINCERE, and NAÏVE/CHILDLIKE
“SINGLE-MINDED”: HAVING OR SHOWING A SINGLE AIM OR PURPOSE, BOUND AND DETERMINED, STEADFAST, RELENTLESS FOR CHRIST, DRIVEN, PERSISTENT, RESOLUTE, SET-ON, SERIOUS, and DEDICATED
“DEDICATED”: DEVOTED, ENTHUSIASTIC, FAITHFUL, GIVEN OVER TO, PURPOSEFUL, SINGLE-HEARTED, SINGLE-MINDED, SWORN, WHOLE-HEARTED, ZEALOUS, and TRUE TO THE END
A born-again believer and follower of Jesus Christ is no longer DOUBLE-MINDED. They are SINGLE-MINDED because they have fixed their gaze and set their heart, soul, mind and strength entirely upon Jesus Christ. They have been given a new heart and a new nature, and therefore have no guile, and are no longer wavering or undecided in mind. They have been freed from the old law and freed from the works of the flesh. All their beliefs and works now stem from the new covenant, God’s law, which has now been written on their hearts. They are now SINGLE-MINDED because they have been given the mind of Christ.
Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience [into which those in the wilderness fell].
For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart. And not a creature exists that is concealed from His sight, but all things are open and exposed, naked and defenseless to the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do.
Inasmuch then as we have a great High Priest Who has [already] ascended and passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession [of faith in Him]. For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning.
Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it]. (Hebrews 4:11-16)
Every single person is faced with a decision when he/she encounters Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us to humble ourselves in the sight of the LORD and He will lift us up (James 4:10). It really does take humility to admit we’re not doing so well in our own strength, but if and when we do, God promises to help us.
Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with he world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the LORD, and He will lift you up. (James 4:1-10)
Trying to do things on our own leads to exhaustion. There are many people claiming to be followers of Jesus but in reality they are deceived. Jesus says, “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:8-9)
He also explains what true discipleship really is:
“Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the Gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:34b-38)
And He gives every one of us a choice:
“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live…. And the LORD your God will bless you…. But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish…. I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days…. “ (Deuteronomy 30:15-20)
…….. MAY EACH OF US CHOOSE WISELY!