Living With A “Wishy-Washy” Prayer Life

Blog’s Scripture:  James 1:5-8

the-power-of-prayer-6-638

ILLUSTRATION:

A young business man went to an executive and asked for his wisdom.

“What is the secret of business wisdom?”

The man answered,  “Wise decisions.”

“How do you make ‘wise decisions’?

“Experience,” the executive answered.

“How do I get experience?”

“Dumb decisions!”

How do we make decisions, in our jobs, in our families, and even choosing a candidate in an upcoming election?

How do we make up our minds?  Do you use common sense?  Experience?

Or, do you see how it lines up with God’s Word in your bible?

We Are Only Human…

We have a great possibility to make mistakes or bad choices in life, and Lord knows, I have made plenty over the years!

We have said the wrong things at times, paid too much for something we desired, been deceived by someone, and let our emotions dictate our decisions–“GUILTY!”

JAMES, Jesus’ half-brother, talks about DECISION MAKING in verses 5-8 –

He tells us if we lack WISDOM, to ask God–God who is no respecter of person and will give to each one of us…IF WE WILL ASK!

WAVERING in our prayers –  (verse 6):

“WAVERING” or “DOUBTING” comes from the Greek word, diakrino.  This verb suggests, not a weakness of faith, but a “lack of faith.”  I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want someone praying for me in a given situation who is “wavering”–“doubting” in their thinking.  James addresses this later in Chapter 5.

James says that “IF” we are going to ask God, we should BELIEVE that He will give us the right answer, not DOUBT, not “waver”; and as the King James Version of the bible reads, we shouldn’t be “double-minded” and unstable in our asking.

The Amplified Bible reads,  [8]  [For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides.

“TWO MINDS” – “DOUBLE-MINDED” Definition is two-souled–pulled apart in two directions, divided loyalties, divided priorities.

boys-walking-fence-washington-indiana-date-1941-july-g3adfy

I remember when I was a young boy living in Federal Housing projects during the post world War II era, most backyards were enclosed by picket fences.  People wanted what little privacy they could have while living in court-style living arrangements.

The unwritten PROJECT RULES, given to each kid, was stay out of neighbor’s backyards, unless invited!  Well, to a 8-10 year old boy, that was like a sign on a front porch that read:  Don’t touch!  Wet Paint!!  You just had to do it!!

Now how were my friends and I going to skirt the rules and not get caught by our folks or neighbors, or even God?

And, the thought process of never falling from walking the fence line, especially into a neighbor’s backyard!!

The problem with walking on a fence is, you cannot do it very long and a lot of times you fall off on the wrong side if you are indecisive–doubting in taking the right steps along the way.

Being “double-minded” in prayer will have the same results.

‘Wishy-washy’ doesn’t make a person strong.

We have all been to the fork in the road and had to decide which direction we will go.  That is why it is so important to hear from God to make the right choice.

In the GOD’S WORD Translation of James 1:8, it says “A person who has doubts is thinking about two different things at the same time and can’t make up his mind about anything.”

 ABP Strong, a variation of Strong’s Concordance with an interlinear Greek translation reads:  [man he is a double-minded], confused in all his ways.

  • CONFUSED in relationship
  • CONFUSED because of fear of the unknown
  • CONFUSED because it will involve change.

It becomes like the DRUNK who is staggering around telling his friends that he is capable of making WISE DECISIONS and able to drive.  He/she may think so, but medically proven, our senses are numbed by alcohol and we cannot function properly and make good decisions.

HERE IT IS–

THE PROBLEM:

Indecision, unstable, double-mindedness.

THE CURE:

Asking God for WISDOM!

We will pick up the phone and call someone and ask for an opinion on what to do in a given situation,

BUT…we won’t ask God for His help until everything else is tried.

HANG UP THE PHONE and go to the THRONE!

JAMES, A servant of God, and of the Lord Jesus Christ, gives us suggestions concerning DECISION MAKING and DEVELOPING FAITH THAT WORKS –

answers

Remember, the PROBLEM is indecision and bad choices.

The CURE is Asking God–Admit your need:  

[5]  If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.  (Amplified Bible)

WE ALL LACK WISDOM–we need God’s help –

WISDOM is different from KNOWLEDGE –

  • Wisdom is knowledge put into practice.
  • Wisdom is seeing life from God’s point of view and not our own.
  • Wisdom is making Godly decisions.

The world is impressed with KNOWLEDGE but God is impressed by WISDOM.

When was the last time you said that you were wrong?  Thought so.

Admit to God you don’t have all the answers:  “I don’t know God”  “What would You like me to do?”

Admit your need!

  • ASK – “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask…
  1.  PRAY to God.
  2.  TALK to Him.
  3.  ASK God.

Proverbs 2:6 (NIV Bible)

[6]  “For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”

“Out of the mouth of babes” expression.

It come from the simple TRUTH, that sometimes, it takes a child to reveal lasting WISDOM.

For EXAMPLE:

Patrick, age 10, said,  “Never trust a dog to watch your food.”

Michael, 14, said,  “When your dad is mad and asks you, “Do I look stupid?” don’t answer him.”

Naomi, 15 said, “If you want a kitten, start out by asking for a horse.”

James 4:2 (AMP):

[2 b]  “You do not have, because you do not ask.”

20 times in the New Testament it says “Ask, and it shall be given.”

  • EXPECT IT – James 1:5-6 (The MESSAGE Bible):

{5-6]  If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father.  He loves to help. james-1-6You’ll get his help and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it.  Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought.  People who “worry their prayers [“Wishy-Washy” in prayer – added to text] are like wind-whipped waves.  Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.

Anticipate and expect and BELIEVE that God wants to GIVE the answer you need!

If God asked you right now, where you are sitting, what do you want most in life, would it be WISDOM?

If you had to make an important decision, maybe moving to a different area of the country to take a new job, would God be the first one you talk to?

We do make decisions that affect our lives and we need God’s help.  

FIRST!

God, tell me what to do!

God tell me what to say!

God, show me your wisdom!  Teach me LORD your principles that will apply to this situation!

Bring to remembrance a scripture that will help!

Give me the peace that is found in Your Word and in our relationship!

NO MORE “WISHY-WASHY” PRAYING FOR ME!

 


CREDITS:

Commentary:  7 Characteristics of a Double-Minded Believer by Dan Delzell – CP Opinion & James 1:6 Bible Hub Commentary.

Photos:  Google Image Search.

Bible Translations used:  Amplified Bible, except where noted.

 

“I’m MAD as Hell, and I’m Not Going to Take this anymore!”

Mad_as_HellThe infamous line in the movie Network is often used to describe our hectic lives.

How many of us have ever felt the pressures of life?  Let’s not fool ourselves.  We live in a fallen world surrounded by everyday troubles and stresses. 

*  Financial

*  Family

*  Ministry

*  A nation in conflict

“I’m at my wit’s end over all this!”

THE APOSTLE PAUL Addresses the Issue – 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 NIV:

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us.  [8] We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  [9] persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.  [10] We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.  [11] For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.  [12] So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”

Looking at this Scripture, we can discover a few applications from it–

#1.  You and I are going to have problems.

Here we have Paul, who wrote the majority of the New Testament and having and facing problems in his life.

—  He was shipwrecked 3 times…

—  Beaten…

—  Put in prison multiple times…

  He had many ministry issues…

—  He had a “thorn in the flesh…

It doesn’t matter who you are, how spiritually mature or immature, you are going to experience problems and pressures in your life.  Just because you come to JESUS, it doesn’t mean that the world and your enemy are going to cut you any slack.  In fact, it will probably intensify!  And, you might even say to yourself at times…“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” 

Overcoming the Types of Problems and Stresses in Life–Soda Pop Cans and “Jars of Clay”

Paul not only describes the types of problems and stresses we all face, but how to overcome them at the same time.

A.  I’m PRESSED but not CRUSHED!

Paul is telling us we are “hard pressed on every side.”  This is the PRESSURE OF THE WORLD.  But, I am NOT crushed – Why?

An Illustration:

Unopened Can
Unopened Can

TWO ALUMINUM POP CANS – One can is unopened and full of soda pop.  The other can is opened and empty.

If I take the FIRST CAN and squeeze with all my might, I can’t crush it.  Now, I know that with enough pressure the can will rupture, so bear with me in this.

CRUSHED CAN
CRUSHED CAN

If I take the EMPTY CAN and apply only a small amount of pressure, it will collapse.  I wasn’t able to crush the first can because it isn’t open to the world.  SECONDLY, there is something inside.

“He Who lives in you is greater (mightier) than he who is in the world”  (1 John 4:4).

ONE CAN collapsed easily–

1.)  Was open to the world.

2.)  There was nothing on the inside.

How then can we be PRESSED but not CRUSHED?

We make a decision not to open up to the world; to allow Christ Jesus to be our strength.

B.  I’M CONFUSED, BUT NOT FREAKING OUT!  (verse 8)

The word “PERPLEXED” in the Greek language literally translates  “to have no way out; to be at a mental loss.”

Have you ever been confused?  Not knowing where to turn or what to do?  Yes, we have all dealt with circumstances in life where we thought there was no way out.

So how is it that we can be “at a mental loss” and not FREAK OUT saying, “I’m not going to take this anymore!”?

Same reason as before:  IT IS CHRIST WITHIN ME!

Jesus is ALL-KNOWING!

He is OMNISCIENT!

He knows what tomorrow holds!

He is in control.

The reason I’m not freaking out is because I know God is going to work it all out for my good.

“And we know that God causes EVERYTHING to work together for the good of those who LOVE GOD and are called according to His purpose of them”  (Romans 8:28 NLT–capitalized for emphasis).

God might be working you right now, but He’s working you for your own good.  TRUST in His promises.

C.  I’m Bloody, Not Broken.

If you get smacked in the nose, it hurts!  Your eyes well up with TEARS dealing with real pain.

I remember playing baseball in High School one year, and while in the batter’s box waiting for the pitch, I was struck between the eyes with a fastball.  It broke the safety-glasses I was wearing in half.  No blood, but suffered two black eyes and plenty of tears from the pain.

In LIFE, we all deal with hurts, wounds and yes, even black eyes.  It may come from our PAST or PRESENT situations.

How then, can we deal with our HURTS and still PRESS forward?

Allow Christ to manifest Himself in your life through the Word of God.

Build up RELATIONSHIPS of other brothers and sisters in Christ which helps us through our tough times.  Sometimes we just need someone with skin on them to comfort us in a time of need (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

D.  I’m Knocked Down, Not Knocked Out!

Yes, sometimes we do get knocked down; hit in the gut by betrayal, death of a loved one, loss of finances…the wind is knock completely out of us as we lie gasping for breath and afraid to get back up on our feet.

FEAR of being hit again can keep you down.

DOUBT can keep you down.

The only person keeping you on the mat…IS YOU!

Why cant the DEVIL keep me down?  Because Christ is in me.  The devil and every demon in hell couldn’t keep Him down!

“Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and [physical and mental strength and ability] over ALL the power that the enemy [possesses]; and NOTHING shall in any way harm you”  (Luke 10:19 AMP).

HOW CAN I ‘KEEP ON, KEEPING ON’, WITHOUT GETTING MAD AT MY REOCCURRING CIRCUMSTANCES?

It’s coming to the REALIZATION…it’s not about you.

It’s a CHRIST thing.

To be a Christian you need to let JESUS, not you, control your life.

You have to SUBMIT to Him fully–not half way; not kinda, sorta, BUT fully!   This allows Him to flow through you.  Remember, you’re going to have problems.  There’s no escaping it.

I have been BLESSED to be a part of 5 Billy Graham Crusades over my Christian life.  I will always remember George Beverly Shea; Canadian born, American gospel singer and hymn composer, who died this past April 2013 at the age of 104.  One song in particular he composed and used to sing at the Crusades fits in nicely I think with 2 Corinthians 4:7-12:  I’d Rather Have Jesus than…

He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;

He’s sweeter than honey from out of the comb;

He’s all that my hungering spirit needs;

I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead.

WITHOUT HIM, I CAN BE…

–  Crushed

–  Freak Out

–  Be broken

–  Be knocked out

JESUS tells us this:

“And Jesus said,  [You say to Me],  If You can do anything?  [Why,] ALL things can be (are possible) to him who believes!”  (Mark 9:23 AMP).