The Disaster of Instability
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:5-8
The world can easily be labeled an unstable environment – politically, emotionally, psychologically…you name it. The only certain thing about tomorrow’s news is instability! Something will happen to upset the apple cart somewhere in the world – in fact, in a lot of somewheres. There are very few things stable about our world when you take into account the human element.
Fortunately, God ensures many stable things in the world, especially the physical world in which we live, like “the sun will come out tomorrow.” But, on the other hand, a tornado, earthquake, or flood may strike unexpectedly. But what “so-and-so” will do to someone else is the most unpredictable thing in the world. Evil lurks in the soul of man and the results cannot always be seen in advance; therefore, instability is the most common result.
Double-minded men and women are unstable in all their ways, according to James, and the world is filled with double-minded people. Such is the one who is unwilling, or unable, to ask God for wisdom, producing double-mindedness in behavior and life. We at the Youth Home see daily the results and behavior of young men who are double-minded. They may swear they are going to do the right thing and the very next moment are doing the exact opposite. Such happens over and over.
Life at the Youth Home revolves around instability, despite the fact that we maintain a strict schedule and are always trying to instill good habits and behavior in hopes that it will lead to more stability. The fallen human element quickens the opposite. Every day brings some form of erratic behavior. Our life here is a microcosm of the world outside our property; except “out there” there is no responsible one in each place to restrict a continuing bad behavior, or at least not a consistent or a particularly loving person, pointing to a more rewarding way to go forward. This is why we are here to do what we do.
So, we major in trying to bring stability where there is little. Stability allows for real growth and maturity. It allows wisdom to grow exponentially. It is fertilizer for growing wise young men, and this is our singular goal. The more stability we can bring to a young man’s life, the greater promise there is for his success –especially the success of genuine salvation and growth in wisdom.
Double-mindedness is a lack of clear direction in life. It is in one who is like a wave of the sea driven by winds randomly this way and that. He spins his wheels gaining no traction in any forward direction. With no change, he will end his life with nothing but pain to show for it. Unfortunately, that may well be the same for his spouse and children, or even a number of his spouses with various children, fighting to overcome severe discouragement amidst the deep marks of divorce. Sin breeds more sin unless genuine repentance intervenes.
A double-minded man and a singular-minded man are worlds apart. There is no comparison. One flourishes in life and character while the other flounders in one predicament of life after another. Such is our goal with each young man with whom God gives us opportunity: true single-mindedness. We always experience pain with the news of a previous young man doing poorly after he leaves PAYH, succumbing to the world and temptations swirling around him. The arch-enemy of these young men is powerful in returning them to addictions, in keeping them from spiritual pursuits, in joining them again to friends who are actually enemies, in leading them to make double-minded decisions which are poor choices, diminishing their lives.
The stability of a life which truly seeks the wisdom of God will not lead them into the misery of poor choices. Seeking God’s wisdom before making a snap or poor choice will keep them from decisions which continually bring painful conclusions. His wisdom, which He promises throughout the Bible, when it is genuinely sought, brings spiritual prosperity, leading to a certain reward and a never-ending conclusion. Such will have the great benefit of no regrets. Single-mindedness, produced only out of being “in Christ,” results in a joy which cannot be squelched.
All of us face the problems arising from instability. All of us struggle with finding the peace which passes understanding in our lives. Pursuing God’s wisdom in making each life decision is essential to the stability which is required to live quiet and godly lives. In fact, Jesus says it should be your preeminent goal to live a quiet and godly life, not only most acceptable to God, but consistently encouraged by Him. The young men at PAYH as well as each one of us should hunger for the stability He brings so that we might live quiet and godly lives to His glory.
“Thou hidden source of calm repose, thou all sufficient love divine, my help and refuge from my foes, secure I am if thou art mine. And lo! from sin and grief and shame I hide me, Jesus, in thy name.”
(1st verse of Charles Wesley’s hymn, “Thou Hidden Source of Calm Repose,” 1749)
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